LAS VEGAS – It’s been 13 months since Johnny Walker set foot in a UFC cage, however the Brazilian gentle heavyweight believes the adjustments he’s made in that point away are going to pay big dividends on Saturday night time.
“It’s been so long, right?” Walker requested MMA Junkie at Wednesday media occasion. “A little bit more than one year. My last fight was in Vegas against Ryan Spann. It’s a long journey. I learned so much through this.”
Walker’s final combat noticed him earn a much-needed TKO win over rising contender Ryan Spann. The outcome snapped a two-fight dropping streak for Walker, and he seemed to be effectively on his option to regaining the momentum he had earned throughout the three-fight profitable streak that began his UFC run. However, a torn pectoral muscle pressured him to the sidelines for an prolonged time period.
Walker stated he didn’t sit idle whereas he was out and as an alternative took the chance to revamp his whole strategy to his profession.
“It was difficult, but it was really good for my personal life because I realized so much stuff that I have to do to become what I want to be,” Walker stated. “I believe I’m extra mature now, proper? I’ve obtained extra expertise, and I’ve discovered how my physique works, what I’ve to do to develop into a champion, and I’ve discovered from the entire errors, proper? Now I’m dedicated to myself. I’m liable for my life, for my household.
“I have so much to fight for, and I just realized, like what I’m doing with my life, and then I committed to myself, like I’m going to commit 100 percent of my time, so I spend all of my time – I just train, eat, sleep, repeat every day. Focus on my diet. Injury prevention. Improve all of my skills, technique, and you’re going to see Saturday night the big results of 100 percent focus. You know, I’m living like a champion now.”
Walker (18-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) returns to motion at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 193 occasion, the place he takes on fellow contender Thiago Santos (21-9 MMA, 13-8 UFC) on the UFC Apex. The whole card streams reside on ESPN+.
It’s a key matchup within the 205-pound division, with Santos at present sitting at No. 14 within the newest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie gentle heavyweight rankings, and Walker residing as an honorable point out. But for Walker, the quantity subsequent to his title isn’t actually what issues probably the most. Instead, he’s centered on exhibiting the enhancements he’s made whereas working below the tutelage of John Kavanagh at SBG Ireland.
“I improved every skill,” Walker stated. “John Kavanagh is very smart. He doesn’t teach bullsh*t. He teaches things that are going to work. I improved all of my game: my jiu-jitsu, my boxing, muay Thai, wrestling. We train everything there, so I just got to another level.”
At simply 29 years outdated, Walker is coming into his athletic prime. He’s already proven the power to do spectacular issues within the cage, however he believes what he’s demonstrated to this point is simply the tip of the iceberg. With a newfound give attention to all elements of his profession, Walker thinks massive issues are forward, starting with Saturday night time.
“I’m here to take over,” Walker stated. “I’m going to smash this division. I’m going to personal this. This is my division now. I’m hungry. I’m prepared
“If before, like the young guy with no experience, I did so much messing up, imagine now, focused the way that I am now with more experience. I’m a man now. I am not a boy, and I’m going to take over.”
To hear the total interview with Walker, take a look at the video above.