After three years away from competing in the ring, Eugene “The Wolf” Jackson (14-7-1), has made a triumphant return in 2006. Turning forty years young in September, he will show the world that the once again, THE WOLF IS HUNGRY! After three years away from competing in the ring, Eugene “The Wolf” Jackson (14-7-1), has made a triumphant return in 2006. Turning forty years young in September, he will show the world that the once again, THE WOLF IS HUNGRY!
Rick Caudle: Eugene, after laying out for three years, you just came back at the beginning of this 2006. What made you decide to quit fighting for such a long period of time?
Eugene Jackson: I decided to stay out of competition for a while, mainly because I wanted to focus on my kids. I have been blessed with four beautiful children and I really wanted to be more involved in their lives. They are big into sports, and I wanted to help and support them in their endeavors. Rick Caudle: So, why did you return to competition this year?
Eugene Jackson: I feel good and I am hungry. I am re-inspired and really enjoying working out in the gym once again. I mean, I never quit training totally, but now I am rolling a lot and hitting it hard. After being out all that time, things are fun again.
Rick Caudle: How difficult was your first fight back after your layoff?
Eugene Jackson: I was a bit concerned after my neck injury. I was just getting over a herniated disk and it held me back some, but I did well after all. There was a little ring rust and my timing was a bit off, but once I got rid of the mental rust, everything went as planned.
Rick Caudle: What made you get into MMA in the first place?
Eugene Jackson: Well, I am Black, White, and Filipino, so growing up without a father in an all Black neighborhood; I had to learn to fight back. It was either that or get beat up. Later on I had some friends that asked me to try martial arts. That’s when I really got into it.
Rick Caudle: If you don’t mind me saying, you are going to be forty in September, is there any particular area of your fighting abilities that has greatly improved with age?
Eugene Jackson: I have learned to be calmer now and not get so wild in the ring. Sometimes the crowd can get you goin’ but that can cause you to burn out quickly. You have to learn to slow down and pace yourself.
Rick Caudle: In the past you have fought some big names like Wanderlei Silva, Tito Ortiz, and Jeremy Horn. Who was your toughest opponent?
Eugene Jackson: Wanderlei is very tenacious. It isn’t just a sport to him, it’s his life. Once Wanderlei strikes, he keeps on coming. He will not let up until you are down.I fought Tito back in the day before they had weight classes. He was 235lb and I was 195lb. He’s always in great shape and is very strong. They were both very tough fighters. Rick Caudle: Your list of training partners also reads like a who’s who in the martial arts. Joao Pierini, Josh “the Punk” Thomson, Bob Cook, just to name a few. Who are some of the guys you enjoy training with the most?
Eugene Jackson: Actually, I enjoy training with everyone. I really love rolling with Joao. He is extremely technical on the ground. He gives you openings to work with and then takes them back. He is very natural with his transitions. I have a lot of fun with Bob Cook. He has a great personality and helps me mentally as well. He has great energy and I really like the way he puts things into pace. His training and his philosophy have helped me a lot.
Rick Caudle: You are listed as a Freestyle Fighter. What styles have influenced you the most?
Eugene Jackson: I would have to say Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You HAVE to respect it.You can kick and punch, but to do well on the mat, you have to have some skill.
Rick Caudle: Who were some of the teachers that you learned a lot from?
Eugene Jackson: Well, I started out with Charles Gill in Tai Mantis. But nowadays, I learn mainly from Joao, Bob, Eloy Ramirez, and Tim Lacjik.
Rick Caudle: Some folks say the problem with fighters that are on the older end of the age spectrum, is that they have not evolved with today’s training methods. Are you one of the guys who have continued to refine his training regiment?
Eugene Jackson: Most definitely! Lately, I have been working with a core trainer named Mike Bazzle. He has taught me how to explode from the ground. When you see me fight at Strikeforce in October, I will look like I am twenty years old!
Rick Caudle: Who are some of the up and coming fighters that you train, guys that are on their way to becoming Champions?
Eugene Jackson: We have a lot of good fighters training at the Gladiator Academy in Redwood City. For one, we have Raul Ramirez, who is phenomenal on the ground. We have two brothers, Justin and Josh, who are excellent wrestlers. Also, we have a very well rounded fighter, great at both striking and on the ground, named Eric Wrey. I look for great things to happen with all of them.
Rick Caudle: One last question. How did you get the nickname “The Wolf”?
Eugene Jackson: They say I am like the wolf because I am a predator. I stalk my prey.
Rick Caudle: Thanks for the interview Eugene, but you are starting to scare me. Ha Ha.Is there anyone in particular that you would like to thank?
Eugene Jackson: Yes, I would like to thank all the people that keep this sport alive. The fighters, of course, but especially the fans, we couldn’t do it without them.
Rick Caudle: Thanks a lot, I really appreciate the interview and you taking time out from your busy schedule. Good luck with your fight at Strikeforce in October. I know you will do well.
Eugene Jackson: Thank you Rick, it’s been a pleasure.