LAS VEGAS -- Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA enjoyed one heck of a night on Saturday.
At one point during the UFC 187 post-fight news conference, three of the five athletes sitting at the podium were from the camp, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Two -- lightweight Donald Cerrone and flyweight John Dodson -- had likely just earned title shots and the third -- heavyweight Andrei Arlovski -- had continued his career resurgence in a "Fight of the Night" knockout win.
Still, the UFC 187 main event represented a different kind of moment for the gym.
Instead of walking eight-time defending champion Jon Jones to the Octagon for the light heavyweight title fight, Jones' coaches and teammates sat in the locker room and watched an old rival, Daniel Cormier, claim the vacant title in a third-round submission win against Anthony Johnson.
It marks the first time in four years someone other than Jones (21-1), who was stripped of the title last month due to disciplinary reasons, has held the 205-pound belt.
"It was surreal," said one of Jones' striking coaches, Brandon Gibson. "Since Jones' fight against Johnson was called off, I hadn't even thought about the Johnson-DC fight. I had work to do with all the other guys -- but the three coaches [Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn and Gibson] watched the fight from the back and it was interesting to watch two guys we had studied and game planned for fight each other.
"It hurt a little bit. All of us put a lot of work into that title and we took a lot of pride in it. The camp had such a great night, it was a surreal way for it to end."
Winkeljohn, also Jones' striking coach, said he hadn't communicated with Jones during the night and wasn't aware if the fighter watched the main event. He said Jones would have definitely watched the Arlovski fight, though.
"I know Jon watched the Arlovski fight," Winkeljohn said. "He helped Andrei get ready for that fight and he was invested in it. He's been in the gym and he's been helping guys get ready. He's been a good teammate."
Gibson, when asked if he thought Jones watched the light heavyweight title fight between Cormier and Johnson, responded, "Oh, I'm sure he did."
After Cormier (16-1) won, his only in-cage post-fight comment was directed to the former champion, who he lost to via unanimous decision on Jan. 3.
"Jon Jones, get your s--- together. I'm waiting for you," Cormier said.
Jones' coaches agreed Cormier can call himself the legitimate UFC champion, despite never topping Jones. In terms of Cormier's call-out, at a time when Jones is under indefinite suspension, none of them took any issue with it.
"He's the champ now," Gibson said. "He can say what he wants. He's earned that."