Miles Johns was one of two fighters to earn a UFC contract after week two of the 2019 Contender Series.
Las Vegas, NV – Miles Johns was subject to high expectations coming into the Contender Series, owning an 8-0 record and training at the excellent Fortis MMA gym. A decision victory over a very tough Richie Santiago earned the LFA bantamweight champion the elusive UFC contract.
“It’s just a surreal feeling. Just a feeling of relief. I’ve wanted to be here. I saw myself standing here, getting that contract, getting the win, but you never know in the fight game. It worked out in our favor, how we thought it would. So it’s like, ‘Yes. What’s next?'”
The head coach of Fortis MMA is Sayif Saud and he makes his presence known in the corner, shouting loud instructions. That energy transfers over to success for Johns.
“I heard him, and I know in the back of my head I’m like, ‘Okay, you better start listening, you’re going to get in trouble for this.’ But in the cage, time moves by a lot slower. So one minute on the ground for me seems like 20 seconds so I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m on my way up.’ And also my groin was a little bit — I could feel it. So I didn’t want to stand up and stuff and tweak it. So I was working my way up. I just love his energy. I don’t think there’s a coach in the world like him. He’s giving us his full energy. He’s giving us all of him. I just appreciate that so much and I hear him in the corner and I try to listen the best I can. I’ve always been a little hard-headed though.”
It’s tough to gameplan for a Contender Series fight, as you want to secure a victory, but also want to make enough of a statement to earn a contract.
“He has a 100-percent finish rate on the ground. So we knew that, but also it’s the Contender Series and we want to bring an exciting fight. But I felt comfortable. He was yelling and he was worried about anything can happen, submissions or whatever, but I didn’t feel like he was going to catch me with anything. I feel like I was hitting him with some really hard shots on the ground, some elbows, some hammerfists and stuff. So I was comfortable enough working my way up slow, and once I got up, I knew I was going to bomb on him again.”
Now that he’s reached the biggest promotion in the world, Johns is ready to get going, but he’ll have to heal up first.
“I want to heal this groin up a little bit, but I’m ready for whatever. Whatever they got lined up for me, whoever it is. There’s a lot of five-headed monsters on the other side. So we made it, but it’s like, ‘Did you really?’ Because now the journey really begins so I’m ready to kick up the level, kick up the notch in the practice room and everywhere. The journey starts now.”
Richie Santiago, Johns’ opponent, just would not go away after multiple near-finishes. While he had to use the entire 15 minutes, Johns is happy that he got to show his complete game.
“Huge respect for him. I’m so glad that he did fight like that because I needed an opponent to fight like that to put on a fight like that. There were times in the fight that I thought it was over as well. I rocked him and he dropped and I was going for the guillotines and I thought I had them tight. I was going for the D’arces and he was good at scrambling out. I thought I was going to put him away and he just kept fighting and fighting and that makes for a great fight. I think that’s one of the reasons I have a contract now.”
Check out the rest of Miles Johns’ media scrum from this week’s Contender Series above.