Johnson feels skill-set will take him past Whitson at MFC 31
Style-wise, he’ll still be “Ragin” living up the nickname that has served him well of the course of an action-packed, nine-year career. He’s never been in a boring fight.
But Johnson has always had an insatiable need to be in the limelight, mostly by way of outlandish speechifying, touting himself as the top dog for a title shot, and generally just making sure that people were sure to hear whatever he had to say.
Yet it seems a new leaf has been turned as Johnson (18-11-1) approaches his much-anticipated showdown with Richie “Hell Boy” Whitson (11-1) at MFC 31: The Rundown.
Johnson is as confident as ever, although he’s tempered his comments to a much greater extent than usual, and at least to this point, not biting at Whitson’s bait of calling him a “loudmouth.”
“I’m just out to win,” said Johnson. “I’m glad that I get to fight again and I’m glad Whitson agreed to the fight. I think it will be a good matchup for the crowd to watch.”
The lightweights will square-off in one of the featured tilts on the HDNet Fights broadcast, airing live from the Mayfield Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, on Friday, October 7. Michael Schiavello and Frank Trigg will get things rolling from the broadcast booth at 10 p.m. ET/8 p.m. MT/7 p.m. PT (check local listings for channel designation).
Johnson seems to have bypassed his usual outspoken bravado in exchange for a reserved approach to Whitson. Still, he hasn’t completely muzzled himself.
“I think we have similar styles but I do believe I have more skill,” touted the Vancouver, B.C., product, who splits his training camp between the West Coast and Las Vegas.
“That being said, he’s a very tough dude … hard to finish. I’m going to finish him, though. Not sure how or when, but I will stop him.”
Getting Whitson out of there will be no easy task considering the Temecula, California, representative has lost only once and it was a narrow split-decision setback coming early last year. He has since won five straight including his MFC debut back in February. Johnson, too, has a durability quality having won six of his last seven and being stopped inside the distance just six times in nearly 30 career bouts.
One of Johnson’s best outings was his last appearance in the MFC when he rang up a convincing clear-cut decision win over hard-headed Ryan Healy at MFC 27. Prior to that, Johnson notched one of the better stoppage victories of his career at Heat XC 4 while also showing outstanding submission defense en route to a TKO win over black belt Josh Russell.
Johnson has made it clear at various times that he views himself as the top contender for the MFC lightweight belt, even calling out Antonio McKee following his victory over Healy. While many considered it a premature verbal volley, Johnson has always stuck to his optimistic viewpoint.
A victory over Whitson would definitely put Johnson at the top of the contender heap, but as per his apparent new take on pre-fight hype, Johnson has dialed down the rhetoric.
“I’m just going to be me,” said Johnson. “That’s what I do. I plan the first shot and then I just ride the wave. I do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. That’s my key to victory – have faith and just be me.”