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Greg Jackson talks Cerrone's move to WW & game-planning for short notice fights

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World-renowned MMA coach, Greg Jackson, recently sat down with the Three Amigos Podcast to talk about Donald Cerrone's upcoming fight against Alex Oliveira, including details on Donald's long-term decision to move up to 170 pounds.

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On December 19th, perennial WEC and UFC contender Donald Cerrone suffered a devastating 66 second TKO loss to reigning 155 lbs champion Rafael dos Anjos. Eager as ever to immediately get back into the Octagon, "Cowboy" is facing Brazil's Alex "Cowboy" Oliveira in the main event of UFC Fight Night 83 in Pittsburgh. Unlike Cerrone's previous 36 professional MMA bouts, this will be his first outing as a welterweight, which will surely open up a new set of intriguing bouts for Joe Silva to make.

Last week, the Three Amigos Podcast spoke to Greg Jackson, Cerrone's longtime coach and premier MMA trainer, about the benefits of Donald moving up to welterweight, what prompted the weight class switch, how Jackson approaches game-planning for short-notice opponents, and if there are any concerns over Cerrone's busy fight schedule.

TAP: Donald had some strength issues with dos Anjos, but has since moved up to welterweight. Do you think that move could be instrumental in helping him shore up that problem?

GJ: "I think so. I think that he was getting so light that he was just wasn't feeling confident. He wouldn't open up, he was worried about getting gassed out, I think it's all of these things that moving up a weight class is really going to help him with. I think that he's going to be stronger, more healthy, his body is going to be able to absorb damage better, [and] I think it's an all-around good move."

TAP: So you envision that Cowboy's career is pretty much, at least for the next several fights, going to be staying at 170 pounds?

Cowboy is really smart. People see all this jumping out of airplanes and doing all the fun stuff that he loves to do, but he's actually a really sharp guy. He's very self-aware and self-reflective, so he was like, 'You know, I think I need to move up, I think that these are the reasons why.' They made sense and I was all for it. -Greg Jackson

GJ: "I think so, unless there's a really compelling reason to bring it down. He's been looking really good in training, he's a lot happier now that he doesn't diet so hard, and I think he's going to be more productive."

TAP:  Was there anything that Cerrone was suggesting to you that he might move up to 170 even during his winning streak?

GJ: "No, I think that we just had to re-evaluate what was going on after [the dos Anjos fight]. Cowboy is really smart. People see all this jumping out of airplanes and doing all the fun stuff that he loves to do, but he's actually a really sharp guy. He's very self-aware and self-reflective, so he was like, 'You know, I think I need to move up, I think that these are the reasons why.' They made sense and I was all for it."

TAP: How do you approach late opponent changes on the fly? Is there a certain set of guidelines you follow in instances like these?

GJ: "You just gotta kinda put together a plan as best you can and change things up because they're very different fighters. Just change up the training, kinda get a rough idea -- we can't usually get as specific as we were before -- so kinda get a rough idea of what we do [and] what we want do do. Again, we're trying to find those safety zones and stuff and do our best to put something together at the last minute."

TAP: Donald is one of the most active fighters that the UFC has probably ever seen. He just fought in December and he's fighting in February. Do you ever worry about his schedule being too much or too overloaded?

GJ: "I do, but with him we just have to keep him focused. He has to have a fight coming up. He loves it so much that as long as he's not in serious wars, I'm alright with it. I do think that he does tend to overtrain if he gets 8-9 fights in a year or something (that would probably be bad), but his body is getting used to it and I think it'll be a lot better at 170."

You can check out the show here or via the embedded player below. The full interview with Greg Jackson begins at the 1:31:15 mark of the audio. Remember, if you're looking for us on SoundCloud or iTunes, we're under the MMA Nation name. Follow our Twitter accounts: Stephie HaynesThree Amigos PodcastIain Kidd and Mookie Alexander or our Facebook fan page, Three Amigos Podcast.