Photo via Montel Jackson Instagram

Contender Series’s Montel Jackson: Good Things Come To Those Who Are Loyal

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Montel Jackson (5-0) has always been a loyal individual.

After a standout high school wrestling career, Jackson turned down offers to wrestle in college. He didn’t have to turn them down. There was just another matter at hand that was much more important to him. Jackson’s grandparents had become sick and needed someone to help look after them. Jackson stepped up without hesitation.

It was at this point in his life in which Jackson displayed allegiance to his family and his friends. One of Jackson’s friends, Devondrick Bankston, was preparing for an amateur bout against Raufeon Stots. Despite having no gravitation towards MMA, Jackson would show up before Bankston’s “open mats” to roll and drill wrestling.

The open mats continued, and so did Jackson’s immersion in the sport. It was at this point that he met “Gato,” a figure who would have an everlasting impact on Jackson’s career trajectory.

“I met this little Puerto Rican guy named Gato,” Jackson told MMA Today an interview. “He kind of talked me into it. We became friends and he started showing me little things when we were rolling. He actually talked me into doing my first ever BJJ tournament with no real class instructions.”

Gato’s sweet talking would continue. Jackson’s Puerto Rican comrade would persuade him away from pursuing his long-time goal of training for the Olympics. Jackson would no longer be traveling to the Olympic Training Center in Marquette, Michigan, to train for the next Olympic games. It was at this point that Jackson signed up for UFC veteran Eric “The Red” Schaefer’s gym in Wisconsin.

Towards the end of Jackson’s amateur career, his abilities skyrocketed. Those in and around Jackson began to notice this, recommending Jackson begin looking into other gyms with larger professional teams. The sense of loyalty Jackson felt for his teammates made it a tough choice.

“It was a hard decision [for me] to switch gyms from the place in which [I] started,” explained Jackson. “It’s where you feel most comfortable. You know everybody, and everybody knows you. I was between gyms for a while.”

“Then, my coach and ‘Red’ Schaefer told me they understood this was the fight game and that I needed to do what what’s best for me,” continued Jackson. “They told me to put myself first, and that if I didn’t like it, I could always come back. I was somewhat brokenhearted for a while.”

The past year has proven that Jackson’s self-faith, dedication, and trust in others has paid off. Jackson has only been fighting professionally for one year’s time. Winning his first five bouts in that stretch, the 26-year-old has earned himself a shot on this week’s episode of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.

The UFC Fight Pass original pins top prospects from around North America and beyond against one another. UFC President Dana White will be cage side, ready to sign whoever impresses him the most. Jackson thinks his fighting style makes him a good candidate to receive one such contract.

“I’ve been putting on exciting fights for the past four years,” said Jackson. “I go out and I look for exciting finishes and work my hardest. Nobody likes the guys who lay and pray. Nobody likes the guys who put on the boring shows or the boring fights. That’s no way in any shape, form, or fashion a way to get noticed. Locally, regionally, nationally, internationally — that’s no way to get noticed.”

Standing across the cage from Jackson on fight night will be New England standout Rico DiSciullo. While many fighters like to analyze their opponents prior to squaring off with them, Jackson couldn’t care less about that.

“I go in there and I fight,” said Jackson. “What you see on film and what you’re going to see in that cage are two totally different things. That guy isn’t going to be the same fighter. The game is always evolving. You’re not the guy on the tape that he’s fighting. not everyone is going to fight everybody the same way. There will always be adjustments, so that stuff is just obsolete.”

When asked what fans can expect come Tuesday night, Jackson stated the specifics. “Two things: destruction and me destroying,” he answered. “I’m going out there and I’m trying to inflict as much pain and harm as possible.”

“I want to shoutout Iridium, Pura Vida, BJJ MMA, Virus International, Post Star Athlete, FloLife, my teammates at Pura Vida, Leah, Zak, Jamie, Tim, Tyus, Justin. Be on the lookout for my friend Erreyan [Shinal]. He’s a bad, bad man who’s an up and coming boxer. ” – QUIK

To learn more about Montel Jackson, follow him on social media:

Twitter: @Montello135
Instagram: @montelquikjackson
Facebook: Montel Jackson
Youtube: Click Here


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Nolan King is a MMA Today senior columnist, writer and renowned MMA insider. Nolan's other freelance work can also be found on FloCombat, Tapology, and MMA Brasil.