Mike Winkeljohn

V.22 No.49 |
Will Fox


Holly Holm fights Friday

and it could be the last time you watch her fight in Burque

Sure, it’s a damn shame that the UFC may never do a show in Albuquerque. After all, Duke City has some of the most committed fight fans on earth. On the flipside, we’ve got some of the best fighters as well, with both home-grown talent and fighters hat have immigrated here to train at Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA, as well as some of the other gyms, like FIT NHB. That adds up to local Mixed Martial Arts events stacked with top caliber talent, fighters that may very soon be competing at the sport’s highest level.

Case in point: Friday, Dec. 6, at the Route 66 Casino, the Fresquez Productions’ “Havoc” fight card, featuring Holly Holm vs Angela Hayes at bantamweight (135 lbs). The UFC has already expressed interest in Holm, and UFC president Dana White has acknowledge to being pestered to the point of desperation with questions about when the organization will sign her. Holm is being touted by many fans and media as a potential solution to Ronda Rousey's dominance.

Thus far, no opponent has escaped the first round without tapping to an armbar, much less beaten the UFC champion. Holm, a world champion boxer, and, according to her coach Mike Winkeljohn a “better kickboxer” is a fearsome striker, who has never been taken down or threatened on the ground in five professional MMA fights. But five of her opponent’s six wins are by submission, which means this could finally be the time Holm is tested on the ground. And we have the opportunity to see what happens, live. As soon as Holm gets picked up by the UFC, you might not be able to see her fight in Albuquerque ever again, so take advantage!

Also on the card, flyweight Nick Urso, a Jackson/Winkeljohn product like Holm. SouthWestFightNews notes, “Urso’s combination of speed, technique and natural talent has placed his name front-and-center in the discussion of who is New Mexico’s best fighter not-signed by a major MMA promotion.”

Urso will be fighting Jesus Urbina of Bushido MMA in El Paso. Again, SouthWestFightNews: “Urbina is very tough in all areas of MMA as he can trade punches in and outside of the pocket, he is very good at scrambling in his defensive grappling and he can finish fights when he gets top position on the mat. All of those compliments only accent his respected wrestling game; Urbina in fact has a collegiate wrestling background. “

Another fighter on the card we should be exited to see is Jackson/Winkeljohn welterweight (170 lbs) Clint Roberts, who will fight Eddie Gamboa, also of El Paso’s Bushido MMA. Roberts is a powerful, well-rounded fighter who would likely be making big waves by now if he didn’t keep getting injured. Most recently: a broken hand suffered in his last fight. It the knockout win, he ended up breaking his hand on his opponents’ head.

Many other local prospects will be fighting as well, including Cody East, Chuck Pieritz, Gabriel Benitez, Ricky Esquibel, and Mike Benefiel. The six-bout main card is preceded by a five-fight amateur undercard, which starts at seven. The public is invited to attend the weigh-in on Thursday at 2 pm, at the Route 66 Casino.

Tickets can be purchased online. For info, call 505-884-7484, or visit the Fresquez Productions website.

V.22 No.38 |
She's not playing around.


Smart Girl Self Defense

Helping women tap into their animal brains

You know that little feeling that something isn’t quite right? More than just a funny feeling, it’s actually your brain processing several conscious and unconscious cues, and arriving at the conclusion that something isn’t cool, explained Heather Winkeljohn, co-instructor of the Smart Girl Self Defense course being taught at Wink’s Gym.

“Women are conditioned to ignore that feeling that something’s wrong. Maybe they don’t want to rock the boat, or come across as a bitch, so they go along with a situation, even though they’re scared.”

Winkeljohn roped her husband Mike in to help teach the course, which is focused on paying attention to the conscious and subconscious cues that can help people avoid danger, if they know how to listen. An expert on victim psychology, Heather has done research on intuition, fear and other emotions that have offered survival advantages through the ages, and the main focus of the course is to identify and tap into these emotions, listen to them and derive power from them if necessary. The course is all about avoiding dangerous situations, but for times when that is not possible, Mike Winkeljohn will teach the women how to throw down when necessary, and make the perpetrator wish he’d chosen another victim.

Mike Winkeljohn is a former world champion kickboxer, and striking coach at the Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA academy, where many of the world’s top pro fighters come to train. He handles the physical self-defense side of the course, teaching the skills needed to survive, and win, a physical encounter. He told me that if the women who take this course never have to use the techniques he teaches them, then he’d consider the course to be a success.

The course looks at the biological basis of fight-or-flight reflex and focuses on how to make best use of intuition and gut feelings, which are the domain of our “animal brain,” as distinct from the “logic brain.”

Heather says that all too often the logic brain can overthink situations, thanks in part to societal expectations that women internalize which can jeopardize their safety.

“Unfortunately, the logic brain can override the animal brain when you’re in danger. Say you’re about to get into an elevator with a creepy looking person. It's the difference between deciding not to get in and convincing yourself against your better judgment that it will be OK. Intuition is kind of like a smoke detector. It could be a false alarm, but you’re better off listening to it.”

This kind of information is augmented by an analysis of common traits of survivors, many of which came to light via psychologist Al Seibert’s 50-year career studying survivors. “Survivors follow their hunches and use their intuition, and they never give up," Winkeljohn said.

The same can be said for good fighters, like Mike Winkeljohn’s protégé Jon “Bones” Jones, who survived serious adversity at UFC 165 last weekend and gutted out a victory against Alexander Gustafson to defend his light heavyweight title. We admire qualities like heart and perseverance in fighters, in part because we recognize these traits are the same traits of survivors. These are good qualities to have on the sometimes mean streets of Albuquerque.

For more info on the course, call Wink’s Gym, at 822-6326.

V.22 No.30 |


Girls Kicking Ass, intelligently

Smart Girl Self Defense class, this Saturday at Wink's Gym

This thoroughly enjoyable video from a surveillance camera in Moscow is only satisfying, unfortunately, because women are typically vulnerable to the boundless assholishness of men.

In an attempt to counteract this sad reality, a very cool class is being taught this Saturday, August 3rd, at Wink’s Gym in the Northeast Heights (7610 Carmel, near Wyoming and Paseo). The class, Smart Girl Self-Defense, combines fighting skills with mental tactics on how to think on your feet and derive power from fear. It’s taught by husband and wife team Mike and Heather Winkeljohn.

Mike is the striking coach at Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA, where many of the world’s top fighters come to train. Heather has a degree in psychology with an emphasis on the psychology of abuse.

Together, they’ve put together a course that teaches women to use their brains to stay out of trouble, and defending themselves if a physical confrontation is unavoidable.

Saturday’s course is part of a two-part series. Signing up or completing the other portion is a prerequisite for Saturday’s class. Call 505-822-6326 for more details.

V.22 No.3 |


John Dodson goes for that belt

and other interviews from media day at Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA

Last Thursday the local media was invited to open workouts at Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA academy, and to interview the teams fighters that are competing this weekend in Chicago’s United Center on UFC on Fox 6. Albuquerque-born Flyweight John Dodson will battle Demetrius Johnson for the title in the main event. Also on the card, Donald Cerrone fights Anthony Pettis at Lightweight, and Clay Guida makes his Featherweight debut against Japanese star Hatsu Hioki. Check the paper on Thursday for a full story. Meanwhile, please enjoy these video interviews.

V.20 No.40 |
Ari LeVaux


Mike Winkeljohn and Greg Jackson: the Click and Clack of MMA strategy

They're smart and funny, but getting a straight answer from these cage-fighting savants can be like pulling teeth

The Alibi's favorite (or top-ten at least hopefully) Food and Cage-Fighting writer, me, just had the opportunity to get clowned by two of the most dangerous men in town. I'm just glad they didn't punch me in the face or strangle me.

Read about it, and watch the video, at Bleacher Report.

V.20 No.12 |
Ari LeVaux


Behind the scenes with Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn

At 3 AM on fight night, the two legendary Albuquerque coaches discuss Jones' victory over Shogun Rua

Jon Jones, at 23, became the youngest UFC champion in history by defeating Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in a light heavyweight title match at UFC 128 on March 19 in Newark, NJ. A few hours after the fight I sat down with two of his trainers, Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn of Jackson's MMA in Albuquerque.

Of "Shogun's" inability to mount any offense whatsoever, Winkeljohn observed, "He got Jones-ed."