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Arizona Opera Cast Members & Creatives

Greg Jackson

Coach Greg Jackson is a mixed martial arts trainer who co-owns Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, widely considered the top MMA training camp in the world. Coach Jackson has trained many successful fighters, including former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovksi, and countless other professional MMA athletes and champions.

Coach Jackson was born in Washington D.C. to Kris and Jim Jackson, who were Quakers originally from the Midwest. Greg Jackson and his family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico when he was three years old. Coach Jackson came from a family of wrestlers (his father, brother, and uncle were all champions in the sport) and he also grew up in a rough neighborhood. Because he needed to learn how to defend himself, Greg Jackson began learning martial arts.

While the young Jackson was occasionally passive in fighting, he would also be an aggressor in brawls and was suspended from school on more than one occasion. In 1992, after graduating from Rio Grande High School Jackson founded his own martial art, Gaidojutsu, which combines rudimentary techniques from wrestling and kickboxing with basic judo locks. He then developed his art by adding techniques from other styles such as wrestling, grappling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing. His school officially turned into an MMA school in 2000. In 2007 Jackson teamed up with striking coach Mike Winkeljohn, and since then the gym is known by the name Jackson Wink MMA Academy.

Other notable fighters in their stable include Donald Cerrone; Keith Jardine; former WEC Welterweight Champion and former UFC Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit; former King of Pancrase and former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nate Marquardt; former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin; former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion and World MMA Fight of the Year Award Winner Clay Guida; the Ultimate Fighter 1 Middleweight Tournament Winner Diego Sanchez; and TUF 14 winners John Dodson and Diego Brandao; former Invicta FC Champion Michelle Waterson; and 18-time boxing world champion in three different weight classes Holly Holm.

Greg Jackson has won three World MMA Awards. He won "Best Coach" and "Best Gym" in 2009, and "Coach of the Year" in 2010.