On the night when two of his most famous and best regarded students fought for supremacy of the world's welterweight division, Greg Jackson was nowhere to be found. His calm counsel and imaginative advice had helped both Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit countless times before, but this time, they were both on their own. After lessons learned during the Jon Jones-Rashad Evans fiasco, Jackson made the decision to opt out of advising either side when students affiliated with his school decided to fight each other, and that extended past fight night and to training.
Before the fight, he had talked several times to both Condit and St-Pierre, one in person at his gym, the other on the telephone, but all conversations had been kept to personal matters instead of professional. Sticking to his pledge last Saturday night, Jackson couldn't even bring himself to watch the match, and it's something he says he probably will never do.
"It was too personal for me," he said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I love both of those guys. It is just business, They did what they had to do, but for me it was a personal thing and not something I enjoy. So I hung out with the family and didn't participate."
Jackson said that he has since heard about the fight, but that his focus in the aftermath was to make sure both competitors were OK, and once he got word that they were fine, he was relieved the whole ordeal was finally over.
"Time to move on, I guess," he said.
While both fighters prepared with their usual zeal -- St-Pierre in Montreal at Tristar and Condit at Jackson's-Winkeljohn's in Albuquerque, but only with the latter of the eponymously named gym -- Condit admitted both before and after the fight that Jackson was missed.
Jackson, in his characteristic modesty, dismissed the idea that his presence would have changed the fight's outcome.
"I don't think I could have changed anything," he said. "I don't think it's one of those things where I’m that important. And that goes for either guy. I don't think I would’ve changed things either way. But I never play the guessing game like that. It's not how I am, I try not to think back one thing or the other. I think Carlos is an amazing fighter, and I’m just a little bit of what he does."
That said, Jackson said he "hates" not being in their corners and that it's a "weird dynamic" to be absent. Jackson has spoken to both fighters since the decision and expects to resume his professional relationship with both immediately.
For St-Pierre, that could entail a fascinating but high-risk matchup with middleweight champion Anderson Silva, a man that naturally out-sizes him by roughly four inches and 20 pounds. It's a fight that is expected to be offered to both men in the coming weeks as the headliner for a mega-event that is likely to challenge UFC 129 for the biggest in organizational history.
Jackson, who is often criticized for his strategic decisions, didn't dismiss the possibility of the bout but said it would ultimately be up to St-Pierre and his management team.
"That’s a challenging fight if it goes down," he said. "I have so much respect and love for Anderson. He's such an amazing fighter that it's going to be a tough fight. Work cut out for us. If anybody can do it, Georges can, that's for sure. If it does happen, I’ll help anyway I can. But man, Anderson is so much bigger. A great, great challenge to try to overcome."