I recently sat down with coach Mike Winkeljohn in his office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Wink” gave his impressions on Travis Browne’s and Jon Jones’ performances at UFC 145, and looked ahead towards the upcoming fights for John Dodson and Diego Brandao, at UFC on Fox 3 and UFC 146, respectively. Here are some quotes from the interview.
On Travis Browne vs Chad Griggs
When I was holding for him getting ready for this fight he hit me with a knee one time through the pads that cracked my face and split my lip open. So I was excited to see him do that to someone else, cause I was calling him a jerk when he did that to me.
On Jon Jones getting caught by Rashad’s overhand right
Jon stood to still too much and got hit by it. Close to finishing the fight. It could have been, within inches, a little more snap of the hips to snap the chin down and cause that much more pain that would have put Jon out. So we got away with that one. And same thing with the head kick. The Sean Salmon head kick that I worked with Rashad on so much. Jon got right in that space, leaned in, and Rashad kicked him in the head. Other than those two moments Jon pretty much owned the fight, and so I was really happy with that.
On John Dodson
Little John, he’s the real deal. He’s got a title in his future at 125, and maybe going up to 135. The most athletic guy I’ve ever taught. It’s like playing a video game. Working with him I can just call things out and he just does whatever.
On Dodson’s footwork
He’s able to move so quick that people can’t hit him. And they’re not sure where when he’s coming or where he’s attacking from. He’s starting to understand how to get his feet underneath him, so he has the power. So he’s getting the knockout power. We’ve seen that on the Ultimate Fighter. He’s starting to put people out. At 125 that doesn’t happen very often.
Diaz, first off, we saw it with Cowboy, he’s tough. I love the fighter instinct in him. But Jim Miller with his wrestling background brings more to the table and I’m going to lean towards Miller on this one.
On Diego Brandao learning how to hunt people
He’s throwing, and then he steps off to the side and kind of hides in the bushes, and waits for his prey to turn a certain way, and then he’s able to attack again.
So in my mind I’m always thinking light wildlife. Just waiting for the right opportunity. Instead of just jumping into a scramble and not sure what’s going to happen. It’s kind of waiting. Just waiting for the right time to pounce on your prey. Diego’s getting smart at that. He’s getting better and better at small angles.