Mayor recognizes world renowned mixed martial arts coach
ALBUQUERQUE – Mayor Richard J. Berry declared Tuesday (Jan. 26) Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA Day in honor of local MMA coach Greg Jackson who was recently named Mixed Martial Arts Coach of the Year and his business partner and local martial artist Michael Winkeljohn.
Jackson opened a gym in Southeast Albuquerque in 1992. In 2000 the Albuquerque native turned it into a mixed martial arts school training some of the world’s elite fighters. Seven years later Jackson merged his gym with Winklejohn’s existing operations. The gym, which is managed by Ricky Kottenstette, was also named Gym of the Year.
Fighters who have trained with Jackson and Winklejohn include UFC Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, UFC veteran Keith Jardine, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans, former WEC Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit, former King of Pancrase and top UFC Middleweight Contender Nate Marquardt, light heavyweight prospect Jon Jones, undefeated UFC heavyweight title contender Shane Carwin and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski.
Jackson and the gym received the honor at the World MMA Awards in Las Vegas, NV on Dec. 30. It marked the second time Jackson has been named “Coach of the Year.” He previously received the award in 2005. Jackson prides himself on developing fighters who are role models and leaders in their communities.
“Through their endeavors, Greg Jackson and Michael Winklejohn have helped to attract greater interest in Albuquerque from folks all over the world,” Mayor Richard J. Berry said. “They have had offers to move their gym elsewhere, but they have decided to keep it in their hometown. They are truly two of Albuquerque’s favorite sons.”
Jackson and Winklejohn have also trained hundreds of local law enforcement officers in self defense tactics.
City Public Safety Director Darren White has known Jackson for several years. “Inside the Octagon, Greg can turn average fighters into elite and dangerous warriors,” White said. “But outside, he is as true a gentleman as you’ll ever meet.”