Damon Jackson (20-4-1 MMA, 3-2-1, 1 NC UFC) is set to meet Darrick Minner (26-13 MMA, 2-3 UFC) at UFC Vegas 56 on June 4.
Jackson will look to make it three straight wins and live up to his nickname, “The Leech,” by finishing Minner on the ground.
“I feel like my grappling is way better than his,” Jackson told MMASucka. “My wrestling is definitely better. My jiu-jitsu finishes are a lot more technical than his. He gets a lot of people with real fast guillotines and he comes out swinging heavy and makes people go to wrestling, and he takes advantage of that. I see the fight playing out how all my fights do. I’m going to press forward, take him down, and I will get a finish on the ground. Whether it’s a TKO or a submission, either way, I’ll be ready to go for him on the ground.”
Jackson said Minner is scrappy and has heavy hands and leg kicks, but said his foe has cardio issues.
“He gasses out in the middle of the second or maybe even the beginning of the second,” Jackson said. “And then he gets finished in the second or third. He comes out swinging heavy, and if I can survive that first round, then I have a pretty good chance of getting him in a bad position.”
Jackson said he plans to stick to his usual game plan, which is grounding his opponents and taking them to his best area: the mat. That won’t change for Minner, according to Jackson.
“I don’t feel like he can hang with me on the ground, so I’m not going to steer away from that at all,” he said. “If he tries to shoot in on me, and I catch him for a headlock, I’ll take that takedown all day. I love that, catching people in front headlocks. If he wants to run away the whole time, I’ll box with him. I’ll throw kicks, whatever. I’ll make sure I’m going forward the whole time. It’ll go to the ground.”
Jackson is a prolific submission artist, securing 15 of his 20 victories by way of tap out. “The Leech’s” resume includes arm-triangle chokes, a guillotine, an armbar, and plenty of rear naked chokes. Jackson is aware that Minner’s most common winning and losing method are both submissions, and he’s ready for whatever grappling Minner may bring to the Octagon.
“I feel like I can look at someone’s style of grappling and I always see one or two moves they give up for offensive submissions for myself,” Jackson said. “I see me getting his back, and I see me also being able to catch him with a guillotine because of how he’s very uncomfortable on the feet. You can see he throws heavy hands, but when someone throws back at him, he comes for on a shot. If he chooses to shoot in, I’ll take that all day.”
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Damon Jackson submits Kamuela Kirk with an arm-triangle choke in the second round of their UFC Vegas match-up on March 12, 2022.
Should Jackson emerge victorious, he said he wants to remain active and fight again in late August or early September. His favorite vacation spot is Mexico, and he said he would like to avoid Mexico’s potential hurricane season in the late summer and instead go down in October.
“I definitely want to finish this fight [against Minner],” Jackson said. “I’m super focused on [Minner], he’s a tough dude. I want to go out there and get that finish. If they’re going to give me someone tough next, I’m ready to go. That’s what I’ve been asking for. I’m just going to take what they give me. If [the UFC] wants to see me in the top-15 or top-10, then I’m ready to roll.”
Jackson said he would step in against Dan Ige or Movsar Evloev should one of them fall out. The top-15 featherweight combatants are set to battle it out on the same night as Jackson and Minner.
“I want to make sure they understand that I’m in this to go hard, and I’m going to go all in,” Jackson said.
Jackson already tried to fight Joe Lauzon on a few hours’ notice when Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone pulled out of their UFC 274 match-up on May 7.
— Damon Jackson (@damonbjackson) May 10, 2022
Jackson wants to remain as active as possible. His primary reason? Money.
“I just want to book a fight so I can be normal and take my kids on a vacation,” Jackson said. “They’re getting out of school at the end of May, so I want to take them on a trip as soon as possible and then get another trip in at the end of summer. It was just me wanting to book a fight so I could be a normal dad and husband. Just do my normal thing.”
Jackson also said fighting consistently is the best way to get into the top-20 of a division and continue to ascend from there. Being active on social media may have something to do with it also, as Jackson has made sure to be more active on Twitter.
“People need to see your face. People need to understand your style, your life, they need to really know who you are. That’s a big reason why I got back on social media. I got back in the UFC, but I had no presence online. I was like, ‘I need to get back on here and start doing my job.’ You’ve got to be an entertainer, you’ve got to be the talent, you’ve got to be a tough guy. You’ve gotta be a mix of everything in this sport.”
Jackson may engage more with his fans on Twitter, but he said he gets annoyed with the concept of calling other fighters out on social media.
“I’d rather call my manager, Jason House of Iridium Sports Agency,” he said. “I’d rather call them and say, ‘Hey, I want to fight, so get me a damn fight.’ I’d rather stay on his ass than call someone out and look like a douchebag on Twitter and Instagram. It’s part of the sport, for sure. People eat that up. It’s kind of weird, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to get a fight.”
Damon Jackson and Darrick Minner are set to clash at UFC Vegas 56 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on June 4.
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