Jordan Johnson looks to stay undefeated at UFC 222, and we got to speak to the promising light heavyweight before he takes on Adam Milstead.
The UFC light heavyweight division is less than stellar right now. Sure, Daniel Cormier is the champ and Alexander Gustafsson is the number-one contender but after that its slim pickings at 205-pounds.
There are a couple of guys inside the top 15 that could make it interesting in the near future. Fighters like Tyson Pedro & Gadzhimurad Antigulov, assuming they continue to progress.
But if you ask me, one of the most intriguing prospects in the light heavyweight division is Jordan ‘Big Swingin’ Johnson. Cageside Press sat down with Johnson to talk about his fight at UFC 222, becoming a father, and more.
The undefeated Johnson is coming off an impressive victory over an equally tough Marcel Fortuna at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale back in July of last year. No doubt double-J did enough to earn a unanimous decision on that night but he had mixed feelings about his overall performance.
“I kept the fight standing. I’ve been working on my stand up quite a bit. I think I won the fight, but I didn’t dominate him, I didn’t destroy him, I didn’t beat his ass the way I wanted to, but I won the fight.”
Johnson has received his share of criticism for his grappling-centric style of fighting. Personally, I enjoy that hardnosed Ben Askren, Chael Sonnen type. I may be in the minority, but I find Johnson’s style exciting and a real challenge for guys to figure out.
“I don’t hear my fighting style is exciting very often,” Johnson joked. “Some people think my style is boring but I’m working hard on my stand up every day.”
No doubt Johnson’s stand up is improving with every outing, but his wrestling is and always will be his bread and butter.
Perhaps Johnson’s aggressive grappling style was forged inside the walls of the MMA Lab where he first started training mixed martial arts with the likes of Benson Henderson, Bryan Barberena, Drakkar Klose, and head coach John Crouch. Nowadays, however, you can find ‘Big Swingin’ putting work in at Victory MMA in Point Loma, California. “Yes, Victory [MMA] is my home now,” Johnson said.
“Sometimes I cross train, the other day I went and worked out at Alliance but it’s not very often I do that anymore, my home is here at Victory.”
It sounds as if Johnson has found a camp that can help him reach the next level in the UFC, and on the personal side of things, Johnson is set to become a father for the first time in mere days. “I’m so excited,” said Johnson who has since given birth to a healthy baby boy. “I’m ready for the responsibility of being a parent, I’ve already got the dad bod now I’ll be a dad.”
Johnson is also looking forward to UFC 222 where he will be fighting a much larger Adam Milstead, “I can’t wait to beat his ass and knock him out,” Johnson said. “I figured for this fight I wanted to find someone who I could just beat the s**t out of, which is Adam. So that was the fight I wanted and then he kept pushing the date back. He just doesn’t want to fight me, that’s what that was.”
Johnson added, “I’m going to make his ass beating even worse for all the bullshit with the date. He thinks he’s a boxer, he thinks he is good, this is a guy where I can stand right in front of him and sleep him.”
Milstead presents an interesting challenge for the undefeated Johnson, can ‘Big Swingin’ use his wrestling to nullify Milstead’s size or is Johnson going to do exactly what he says, stand right in front of the bigger man and shut his lights off?
UFC 222 takes place this weekend live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Johnson vs. Milstead is slated to kick off the action on the early Fight Pass Prelims.