"I love the mist coming off the trees," Greg Jackson says staring at the early morning fog enshrouding the Georgia pine. "It reminds me of Francis Marion." Just the fact that he knows who Francis "The Swamp Fox" Marion is turns my head. I'm an Army officer who sees the world through historical blunders and tactical victories, so Jackson is treading on my turf. Like he cares. Shocking people has become a hobby of his and he'd just pulled off his biggest surprise party the night prior when Rashad Evans knocked Chuck Liddell off the ‘top ten light heavyweights in the world' list. I've had a relationship with Jackson for over a year, but like the rest of the world, I'm learning that he has a knack for unpredictability; a facet that reinforces his nearly mythical status.
It's roughly eight o'clock in the morning and we've just finished an hour-long workout with Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The soldiers catch their breath and cool down, but Jackson, covered in grass and sweat, is amped. "I can't think of a better way to start the day," he tells the troops. His days immediately after a stressful event like UFC 88 should be reserved for decompressing and relaxation, but instead he's on a road trip with me to spend a couple of days with soldiers in the muggy southern heat. That doesn't stop the MMA world from trying to find him despite the poor cell phone coverage. LINK