Coach: Good chance Holm gets title shot after Tate

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

World-class coach Mike Winkeljohn recently appeared on Submission Radio for a wide-ranging interview. Jackson/Wink MMA fighters Jon Jones, Andrei Arlovski, Donald 'Cowby' Cerrone, and Holly Holm were all discussed in some depth.

On Jon Jones.

“You know what, I have no idea about him coming back to the octagon yet. He’s kind of still working on himself. I know he’s got some court things that have gotta get worked out. He’s been in the gym helping other people and that’s been real important. He’s kind of coming in, helping other people, and changed the way he looks at things a little bit. And we’ve been real happy with that progress, that paying attention to others that he’s been doing so far.”

On the return of The Last Emperor.

“I think it’s a great idea. Honestly, with the right training – look at Andrei Arlovski coming back. I mean everybody thought he was shelved, and now he’s coming back and on a title run. There’s no doubt about it. I think we get the title shot, we’re winning the title. If he [Fedor] does it right, if he’s thinking about doing it right, and how cool is that? That would be one of the really, really exciting stories. Fedor was the king for so long, and to take all of that time off and come back, that'd be really exciting”

On Fedor vs. Jon Jones.

“I have not even spoke to Jon about it, but looking at how, you know, Fedor’s fights towards the end of his career [went], I think unless he changed something I think it’s an easy fight for Jon.”

On a Fedor vs. Arlovski rematch.

“Andrei’s so strong, he’s so strong from his Sambo days. He’s so tight, strong in his body locks. Strength-wise Andrei would be so much stronger, and as far as the boxing skills, with the range, you know, Andrei’s got him too. So I definitely would put my money on Andrei all night long, and would actually really enjoy seeing that fight.”

On Arlovski vs. Frank Mir match up at UFC 191.

“You know what, its maybe a little disappointing because of course we wanted the title shot, but if we had to wait long-term for the title shot, keeping Andrei busy is not such a bad thing. I think this will be a good fight for him, and we’ve had Frank. Frank came down and he’s been at our gym quite a bit, he used to train with us for a little bit, so we know a lot about Frank, we like Frank. I think he’s got some great skills, but this could be a good fight for Andrei and there’s no doubt in my mind that they will give him a title shot after he knocks out Frank Mir.”

On Mir vs. Duffee.

“You know what, again, he started swinging for the fences and just did great. He’s the one who connected with it, but with that being said, Andrei’s a different animal out there than the last guy Duffee that he fought. Andrei accelerates that much faster, I think Andrei hits as hard as anybody in the heavyweight division, and boxing, Andrei Arlovski is tough to do. The man's a genius now and his movement's gotten so much better.”

On Carlos Condit vs. UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler.

“There’s no doubt we've got to start faster. A lot of that had to do with the layoff I’m sure. A lot of it had to do with being in a different country, a lot of it has to do with, you know, many different things. But once he did shift gears there it become one-sided, and against Robbie we’ll make sure it’s one-sided the whole fight.”

“I think there’s little chance it will go to the end. If it goes to the end there is no doubt Carlos will win because Carlos is a five-round fighter, his conditioning is just incredible. But both those guys do damage. Robbie hits very hard. I’m surprised…..I would be very surprised [with] anybody going the distance with Robbie Lawler with his striking power, and you can see what Carlos can do now with Thiago Alves. He’s always been a finisher, he always finishes fights, and in my mind there’s no doubt that it’ll be finished before the fifth round.”

“The way to survive against Robbie Lawler is not get hit 'cause he hits very hard, and not be there. It’s simple as that. Beat him to the punch and not be there. I think that Rory was being very successful at fighting at a proper range, and then he got sucked into the fight. And so that’s part of  it, is Carlos has got to fight his fight wherever that might – I won't give out the game plan – but Robbie’s going to try and suck him into his fight, which is 'throw with me 'cause I hit hard'.”

On the possibility of Cerrone taking another fight if the title shot with UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos drags out.

“Cowboy, he always wants to fight. He doesn’t really care about the title, he just wants to fight. He wants to make some money, buy more toys, he’s just….he has never turned down fights. Holding him back is the hard part. Cowboy doesn’t listen to me he listens to Greg Jackson, and Greg’s always telling him to 'slow down, slow down, slow down,' and Cowboy is like 'Ima take the fight.' But it’s worked out well for him. He keeps destroying people, he’s on a run, he’s doing great things, and yeah if the fight was to stretch out real far away there’s no doubt in my mind Cowboy would take another fight.”

On what if the title shot is six to eight months off?

“Gosh eight months, that’s a tough one. It’s a tough one. I wanna be on Cowboy’s side and how he wants to live his dream, and something tells me he’d wanna fight. I can’t turn down on that if it was going to get dragged out really far, but if things went in the next six months, I’m with Greg. I think he sits on it and he becomes the best in the world. He deserves it. He’s there and, you know, there’s nothing wrong with us having another champ in our camp.”

“Cowboy Cerrone’s wrestling has come to such a high level. He’s got the best hips in the gym. It's incredible what Jafar – his wrestling coach – has done with him. I’m constantly amazed at how technical he’s gotten, and how fast he can shift his weight and bring his hips around to keep you from taking him down. He’s a whole different level. So now that the wrestling is out of the game for everybody else, they gotta deal with Cowboy wanting to kick them in the head with his left leg all day long, and you see what happens when Cowboy starts really striking, he gets going. So I think he's made proper improvements. I think you’ll see even a better Cowboy for this fight. I know today I already watched him sparring in class, he was already doing some things that from the outside I’d love to see him do more of, and he’s got a great striking coach – day striking coach, Henry Smith – that definitely just is working on these things, and he’s getting better and better at it.”

On Holly Holm's last performance.

 “Oh it’s absolutely great. She defeated the girl everywhere, she made the girl pull guard twice. To me that’s demoralizing that you can’t take somebody down because of movement, because of the range, because they’re scared to get to you. And again, she tried to get the same armbar that she triangled, that Jessica Andrade got caught in, and right away [Holly] was able to defend it and pop out. So everything is coming together. You should see how strong she is, and she’s not a boxer anymore, she’s an MMA fighter.”

“I think there’s a very good chance she might be the opponent after Tate.”

(3:50 mark)