With Mike Perry taking on Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone at UFC Fight Night Denver, Jackson-Wink MMA's head coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn finds themselves facing a former pupil from their Albuquerque base, which they helped create.
In an individual sport like mixed martial arts, fighters routinely have to think about their own careers and make personal choices surrounding them, such as running a fight camp, choosing who will help them achieve their goals, while making a living from such a demanding sport.
On the other side, coaches have businesses to run and have entire rosters of fighters to attend to, where they may not be able to give all the attention to a particular fighters' needs.
This leads to fighters leaving camps. As the breakdown between Cerrone and coach Winkeljohn became public, it revealed some of the politics involved behind the gym's closed doors.
Fortunately, not all scenarios results into bad blood between fighters and coaches at Jackson-Wink MMA. We look at five examples of the famed Albuquerque camp cornering against their former fighter.
Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans at UFC 145
Following his win at UFC 100, Jon Jones came to Albuquerque to begin training at Jackson's MMA. He was taken under the wing by long-time Jackson's fighter Rashad Evans, as both fighters were competing in the same weight class and were likely needed as training partners.
Jones was quickly rising up the ranks, while Evans was working on getting a second title shot.
Evans was scheduled to face Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 128. However, Evans suffered a knee injury in training camp, with the UFC asking Jones to be the replacement. Jones accepted the fight with Evans' alleged blessing. Jones would go on to stop Shogun and claim the title in the process.
All fine, and dandy, until Jones would change his tune at first saying he would 'never' fight his teammates Evans, to 'not wanting to get fired over the situation.'
Evans would respond in interviews reporting that he initially did not like having Jones in the same camp as himself. He told BloodyElbow's Duane Finley, "When Jon Jones came to the gym over a year ago Greg Jackson came to me and said, 'listen, what do you feel about having this kid on the team?' I told him straight up that I didn't like it. I told him that the kid was talented and that the sky was the limit with him but that was the type of guy I wanted to fight not train with. Greg came back saying, 'No, no, no this will be just like you and Keith where he will be just like a brother.' I still told him that I didn't want to do that. Then Greg said if that situation ever did arise between Jones and I that he would have to turn the fight down because that's how it works. He would have to turn down the fight with me so that way I wouldn't be put in a position where I looked like a punk. That's how it works in the Greg Jackson system."
Evans would eventually budge on the situation stating, "After a while Greg was so high on this kid coming in and I met Jon Jones and he was a very nice and very sweet kid, so eventually I said [expletive] it, let' s bring him in. After he got there and I trained with him and tried him out a little bit, something didn't feel right so I moved my camp up to Denver to train at Grudge for awhile. That is where I spent the majority of my time over the past two fights."
Greg Jackson was torn on the situation telling Sherdog, "I've got to sit down and make my decision and see what I feel is best for the team. Not for me, because I have my own personal feelings where I never want to ever do that. I'm going back and forth now because I have to think about what it means to be on a team. Are we just a collection of friends that train together? For me, it's much more than that. It means something to be on this team, and it means something to have team-mates. Rashad kind of left that."
Jackson would decide he would corner Jones against Evans.
After a pair of fights failed to materialize, Jones faced Evans at UFC 145. Jones would shut out Evans for a unanimous decision victory to retain his title.
Evans would reveal to MMAFighting in 2015 that he retrospectively wishes the feud with the camp never went down. He would state, "I think at some point you have to look back and see your role in the situation. Looking back and seeing my whole role in the situation, I didn't handle everything right."
Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne at UFC 187
"But it's a business, you know. It's nothing personal. It's business."
Former Jackson-Wink teammates Andrei Arlovski and Travis Browne faced off at UFC 187 in what was a 'Fight of the Year' candidate. Arlovski would win the back-and-forth one-round affair after coming back from a knockdown to stop Browne.
The backstory to this fight is more friendly as some of the other fights on this list.
Browne revealed to MMAJunkie that Arlovski had lived in his house for six months, while training in Albuquerque, and their pet dogs, Nacho and Maximus, played together. Arlovski
Browne would say, "We talk outside camp and the gym. As far as other UFC fighters, I would say he’s probably guy I’m closest with."
Arlovski also spoke with Browne about the potential of the two fighting each other, which they did not mind.
Browne would move to Edmund Tarverdyan's Glendale Fight Club in 2014, while Arlovski was still living in Browne's residence, "He left Albuquerque and he trains in California. It’s funny because he let me life in his house when I was in camp before my ‘Bigfoot’ fight, and he called and he said – ‘yeah, I moved out. You better take your stuff out."
Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard at UFC 150
In early 2012, Melvin Guillard decided to follow former Jackson's MMA teammate, TUF Season 2 castmate and former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans to Blackzilians camp in Florida.
Cerrone and Guillard were friends and trained together at Jackson's for three years, before Guillard's departure.
Cerrone would reveal to Ariel Helwani that he distanced himself away from the Albuquerque camp to calm the brewing feud between Guillard and Jackson's MMA. Cerrone also said he called Guillard to make sure they were both good with fighting one another.
Both fighters kept the feelings mutual during fight week, with Guillard even embracing Cerrone before media workouts.
Cerrone would get dropped in the opening seconds of the fight, but would regain his composure and knock out Guillard with a head kick and follow up punch.
After the fight, Guillard revealed his intentions to return to Albuquerque, however Jackson's MMA would not welcome him back to the team.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Alistair Overeem at UFC Fight Night Rotterdam
Travis Browne was not the only former teammate that Andrei Arlovski had to face from his Jackson's MMA camp.
Fellow heavyweight Alistair Overeem joined the New Mexico camp in 2014 after facing a pair of fighters from the team in Browne and Frank Mir.
Browne, who defeated Overeem the previous August, was 'happy to have him' on the team telling MMAFighting, "Iron sharpens iron. And that's genuine. The coaches pulled me into the office and asked me if it would be OK with me. I told them I'd love it. I can learn from him."
Arlovski, on the other hand, did not appreciate having a new teammate from his weight division in his home gym. When FOX Sports asked if Arlovski would consider this fight a teammate vs. teammate bout, he responded, "I don't. For me it’s just another tough opponent and it’s just another fight for me. No relationship, just hi, bye, that’s it."
Arlovski continued on the strain it would add to the gym, "I guess it might have been awkward for him, but for me nothing happened. I was more worried about my coaches because when Overeem agreed to fight me, I guess he just put Greg and Wink in a bad spot. All the coaches to be honest with you were in my corner. They helped me and I’m very excited. I’m ready to go."
'The Pitbull' would also speak on one of their sparring sessions going awry after Overeem allegedly injured Jon Jones, "I do not like to wash dirty linen in public, but in these words there is a weighty truth. A few days ago I was sparring with Alistair Overeem and experienced firsthand how it can end. As usual sparring goes: men represent strikes, touch each other, but do not tend to cause real damage to the partner. During one of the highlights of our sparring Overeem hit me with the hardest knee kick in the stomach. In a real fight would turn out for me by knockout. After that, I immediately went to the hospital to make sure that my ribs were not broken." Arlovski continued, "Now I know that Overeem injured Jon Jones simply because he injures everyone with whom trains."
Overeem would stop Arlovski in the second round of their matchup with Jackson and Winkeljohn in Arlovski's corner.