Corey “Maximus” Jackson won the Hoosier Fight Club Amateur Lightweight Title at HFC 32 back in February by defeating Nick Friedrich via unanimous decision. The impressive win marked the end of a decorated amateur career for the Michigan City native. Jackson will now face Sinatra Pool this Saturday at HFC 34 live from the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana in what will be his professional MMA debut.
The leap from amateur to professional ranks can be a daunting task, but for Jackson, it’s just another step of the commitment he’s made to becoming one of the best 155-pounders in the world. Prior to his bout at HFC 32, Jackson recently quit his job to focus on training full-time. He says that, along with the consistent work he’s put in have really elevated his skillset.
“Over the past 8 months or so, I’ve really learned how to control and maintain my body. I’m taking care of myself now and it’s helping me tap into my true potential and a lot of new techniques. Everything starts with my guys at American Top Team Atlanta. It’s great man, the support I get is crazy, I get to train with animals all day long—it’s like a jungle in there man, just a lot of great, talented individuals making each other better every day.”
All of Corey Jackson’s previous bouts under the HFC banner have been held at the BlueChip Casino in Jackson’s hometown of Michigan City, Illinois. This time around, Jackson is fighting in hostile territory as his opponent Sinatra Pool is a local to the 312. This means Jackson will be going from hometown hero to villainous outsider this Saturday.
I mean, it’s always a good thing to have a crowd, but it really doesn’t matter when you’re in that cage and the only person you can worry about is the guy across from you. You gotta be mentality tough enough to block out anything you’re hearing. I’ve had some fights like, with HFC, where I’ve had the crowd behind me, and I’ve had some fights in kickboxing where the crowd was against me, so I don’t expect that to be a factor.
Jackson has no plans on conceding to the more experienced Pool in this bout. In fact, Jackson seems less than concerned about the possibility of losing and instead, has his sights set on his long term goals. One could question whether or not that’s a mistake, or perhaps a sign that a true monster is coming for more than just a 1-0 record.
“I think technically I’m better than him everywhere. I think my striking is better than his, and my wrestling is better than his. I’m just lookin’ forward to pushing the pace on him and keepin’ him workin’ the whole time. I know he is cutting a lot of weight to make 155, so I’m just gonna be putting the pressure on him. Let’s see if he can take it. You gotta be able to take some to give some in this fight game. A lot of my fights in the past I’ve been strategizing like ‘Oh I want to stand up, or I want it on the ground.’ For this one I just want fight and put on a good show.
I’m lookin’ to make a statement, man. No disrespect to Sinatra Pool, he’s a professional, but I’m not necessarily training to fight him. I’m training to fight in the Big Leagues you know what I’m sayin? This is just my first test that’s gonna’ help me prove I belong there. I’m not looking past him, but I’m certainly looking through him.”
Strong words from a hyper-focused individual. Time will tell if Jackson’s confidence bodes him well as a pro, but one thing is for certain, Corey Jackson has all of the tools to make some serious noise in the lightweight division for a long time.