At 7-0, former Bellator MMA and current Legacy Fighting Championships fighter Damon “The Leech” Jackson steps into the cage at Legacy Fighting Championship 28 against 6-1 Hunter Tucker. Fighting out of Dallas, TX for Octagon MMA, Damon took some time to answer some of our questions before his upcoming fight.
Fighting out of Dallas, TX with Octagon MMA you are now 7-0 after making your debut less than 3 years ago. What made you want to become a professional mixed martial artist and was it something you always wanted to do? Can you tell us a little bit about your journey?
Jackson: No, I hadn’t always loved MMA, I was actually not allowed to watch it until UFC made the deal with spike, after seeing the ultimate fighter I was addicted. That’s also around the same time I started wrestling and wrestling got me started. I taught some wrestling to some jiu jitsu guys in my home town and then slowly trained everything else.
Your next fight is coming up on February 21st against Hunter Tucker at Legacy Fighting Championship 28. What do you know about your opponent and what are you expecting from him? Does he present any challenges that you might have not faced before?
Jackson: He’s a smart fighter, doesn’t take a lot of chance and capitalizes on any mistakes made but his opponents. He bring the biggest challenge I have faced so far with his stand up. I know my ground game is better then his but will have to fight smarter on the feet.
Your teammate at Octagon MMA Sean Spencer has a big fight coming up soon against Alex Garcia at UFC 171. Does having a teammate training for a fight at the same time help you with your training and does that make the atmosphere in the gym that much more intense?
Jackson: At Octagon MMA we always have someone fighting and everyone is there to push each other, but the atmosphere does change when we all get closer to fight time. We train smart and hard year around and ready for any challenge presented.
You’ve had a couple fights in Bellator. Winning both times including your debut submitting Zac Church for the second time in a row. Why do you think you haven’t fought in Bellator again and was that your choice or theirs and did you find it surreal that you had to fight Church again just a little more than a month after submitting him the first time?
Jackson: It’s is 100% my choice, I have goals of my own and would not want to be locked down with any promotion that wouldn’t allow me to move freely for bigger opportunities. Right now I have my eye on the featherweight belt for Legacy Fighting Championship after that we’ll see where it goes.
We recently saw a video of you on YouTube preparing for your next fight with a lot of striking training yet you seem very comfortable grappling and being on the ground with most of your wins coming via submission. Is that a fair statement? Who are some of the coaches, fighters and trainers that are helping you to work on your submission game that makes it so good?
Jackson: I’m always working on my stand up and my jits and my wrestling, right now my focus is fighting smarter all around. I have to many training partners to throw out I would hate to miss anyone. Justin Martin is over my conditioning, Octavio Couto is in charge of my jiu jitsu and grappling and my stand up and over all head coach is TXMMA’s coach of the year Sayif Saud.
As a fighter, what was your most memorable fight and as a fan what is the one fight that either made you love this sport or really stands out as your favorite of all time. If you had your pick, anyone throughout the history of MMA, who would be your dream opponent?
Jackson: Stephan Bonner vs Forest Griffen TUF final. I would love to fight Leonard Garcia for that featherweight belt, he has done so much for the sport and would be awesome to face him.
Damon, thanks for taking the time. Anyone you’d like to thank (Sponsors)? And where can fans find more info on you or stay up to date with you?
Jackson: Yeah I would to thank my gym Octagon MMA and all coaches and training parnters that have gotten me to this point. My sponsors Indian nation wholesale, medical center pharmacy, Revenge Gear and all others. And thank you for the interview, I appreciate the support. Everyone can follow me on Twitter at @DamonTheLeech or my Facebook page.