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ERROR: Macro old_Breadcrumb is missing! Canadian coach plays taskmaster in gym, gets Rampage in shape ahead of UFC 130
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Quinton (Rampage) Jackson acknowledges he needs some motivation in the gym. Canadian Lance Gibson is happy to oblige with the former UFC light-heavyweight champion some tough love.
"I have a certain way of motivating him, because he doesn't like to train," Gibson explained. "I'm a hard-ass too, I'm like a military sergeant. I don't take no for an answer and I'm not a yes man. I think that's what he needed in his camp."
"We're friends," added the 40-year-old from Port Moody, B.C. "But during camp sometimes we're not friends. Then when it comes to the end, we're always friends together."
That friendship has survived three training camps to date. On Saturday, Jackson takes on Matt (The Hammer) Hamill in the main event of UFC 130 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
"Lance is an excellent coach," Jackson said. "He's very serious and he's very focused and determined and very disciplined. He's knowledgeable in a lot of different areas.
"You know I am known to joke around a lot but I train hard. But sometimes it's time to be serious and that's the Lance time. You go with Lance and it's time to be serious, and he's an excellent (Muay) Thai coach. Excellent combos. He's good all-around actually."
The two first met in 2001 when Gibson, then fighting in the UFC, and Jackson, who was campaigning in Pride, found themselves both training at Tito Ortiz's California camp in the high altitude of Big Bear.
"He was just a kid with raw talent. Not much money. And just a good person," Gibson said of Jackson. "And still is the same person, regardless that he has money now."
They reconnected in late 2009 when Jackson came to Vancouver to film "The A-Team" and realized Gibson's MMA gym was in nearby Port Moody. Jackson trained there during the movie shoot and Gibson has gone on to become a key coach.
Gibson's partner, Julia (The Jewell) Budd, fights in Strikeforce but was also involved in Jackson's camp this time as a nutritionist.
Jackson has ballooned in the past between fights — his weight cost him a title shot at Mauricio (Shogun) Rua when Rashad Evans got injured earlier this year — but has stuck to the plan this time.
"He looks phenomenal," said Gibson. "We've just added on a new weight program. So he's been doing that with me for 13 weeks and his body's completely transformed.
"We took him off dairy, gluten, sugar and just transformed his body— all organic stuff and he's look phenomenal. His body really reacted to it."
Jackson does look sleek and proudly told reporters at the pre-fight news conference that he is enjoying his new-look body.
"I'm really excited about getting in shape for this fight because I haven't seen my abs for a long time," he joked. "I miss 'em.
"When you look at yourself in the mirror and you're disgusted with yourself and you're a professional athlete, man, it's bad. That's embarrassing."
Gibson, who has some 300 students at his gym, has cut back on his pro fighter coaching duties in recent years.
"Sometimes it's a big babysitting job," he said. "But I only take special people. So I've got Julia and a few other fighters — I've got Quinton, then I've got Devin Cole and I've got Joe Vedepo."
They were also involved in Jackson's camp.
After three months in California, Gibson is looking forward to returning home after the fight.
He follows his gym via video, monitoring classes, and counts on some veteran instructors to fill the void.
"But I'm missing home. I'm missing B.C."
But there is no time for rest as Budd fights Germaine De Randamie on June 24 in Seattle on a Strikeforce card.
Budd (1-1) was at the wrong end of a 14-second knockout in January, beaten by Amanda Nunes in Strikeforce.
"You feel like it's the end of the world," said Gibson. "It's happened to me, actually quicker."
Gibson was knocked out in nine seconds by Rocky Batastini in 1998. He bounced back with a win over Akihiro Gono next time out.
He was back in the gym the day after the Batastini loss. And the day after Budd's loss, after they flew home, he made her run two miles and hit the bag.
"You can't always be the winner," he told her.
"You trip off a curb walking in the street and nobody knows that you do it. But you're on TV and people see it. I said 'Let it motivate you.'
"She's pretty motivated."
Being a coach as well as a partner is challenging, he admits.
"Oh yeah, real difficult," he said.
He also coaches his son Lance Jr., a top-rated high school wrestler in Washington state.
"They are the two people I care about most, so I want to protect them the most. So I'm the meanest and the hardest on them in the gym and they sometimes don't understand that. But I do it for their own good because I want them fully prepared."
Budd remains an attractive prospect in the women's side of the sport. Gibson said there was talk of a matchup with Gina Carano, a star in the women's game who is returning to the sport after a break. It's a fight Gibson thinks could still happen if Budd wins next month.
A wrestler in high school, Gibson got involved in MMA when he was doing a play in Seattle in the mid '90s. He walked into a gym, Matt Hume's AMC Martial Arts, and saw Kimo Leopoldo.
"Nobody would spar with him and I was like 'OK, I'll spar with him.'"
Gibson, whose fighting nickname was Fearless, held his own with the UFC vet and figured he too could give it a shot. He made his pro debut in 1997.
The five-foot-nine middleweight fought twice in the UFC in 2000, beating Jermaine Andre at UFC 24 and losing to Evan Tanner at UFC 29.
Gibson (4-5) retired as a fighter in 2002 after losing a unanimous decision to Masanori Suda in Japan for the Shooto title.
"I've been doing movies since '88 and I make good money in the movies and I'm running a gym and back then they weren't paying that much for fighting," he said. "I had achieved as much as I wanted to achieve and I just wanted to focus on my business and my acting career."
He has been involved in movies and TV since 1988, both as a stuntman and actor. His credits include "21 Jump Street," "MacGyver," "The Sentinel," and "Booker." He also played Spike in "X-Men: The Last Stand."
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