Jordan Johnson never let himself worry about making the PFL post-season, he said following his win over Sigi Pesaleli at PFL 6 2019 in Atlantic City.
Atlantic City, NJ — Jordan Johnson left the UFC on a four fight win streak last year, unable to come to terms on a new deal with the promotion. After fighting out his contract, Johnson landed with the PFL, where he has a chance to win a million dollars. Though he’d dropped to middleweight in his final UFC bout, Johnson moved back to light heavyweight for the PFL, and at PFL 6 2019 in Atlantic City, he won his way into the post-season.
His first fight hadn’t gone as well. Johnson suffered the first defeat of his career at PFL 3 earlier this year, before bouncing back against Sigi Pesaleli at the sixth and final regular season show. However, the pressure of making the playoffs isn’t something Johnson ever dwelt on, he told Cageside Press and other reporters following his win over Pesaleli, a unanimous decision.
“One thing, whoever needs to hear it, you cannot think like that,” Johnson said post-fight.
“Every time I fought prior, the question I always got is, ‘you’re undefeated, are you scared to lose?’ It was just non-stop. And I never once was scared to lose.”
“And then with this one,” he continued, “it’s ‘hey if you don’t do good, you’re not going to get into the playoffs. Are you scared to not get in the playoffs?’ And if you have that kind of mindset, you’re never going to accomplish anything. Because there’s so many things that can go wrong day-to-day, and if you’re sitting around going ‘oh f*ck, what if this happens?’ you’re going to have a real poor quality of life.”
“It was never an issue. In the last fight, it was never an issue being undefeated, I never really cared about that,” Johnson reiterated. “Obviously it was nice being undefeated, because it’s a reflection of my hard work, but never scared of it. Getting into the playoffs, the only time that ever crossed my mind is when someone asked me, ‘are you scared of not getting in the playoffs?’ No.”
It might sound like Johnson is pitching the power of positive thinking. But, in all fairness, he makes a valid point. For Johnson, it’s a never-ending cycle. Getting to the playoffs, getting to the finals, winning the belt, defending the belt, there’s always that sort of question. So why worry about it?
One thing he may have to worry about is the short opening-round fight in the post-season. Two rounds, with the first round serving as tie-breaker if the fight goes the distance.
“The short fights, you’ve got to finish the fight, you’ve got to win those fights, you’ve got to win the first round. So I’m going to have that in my mind,” he admitted. “But the thing is, I’m going to tell you, and I’m being 100% honest, I’m just going to let it flow. Whatever happens. I’m not going to go sprint across the cage and try to knock anyone out. If it’s there, if I notice the dude walks out and keeps his hands down for the first 15 seconds of the round, then hell yeah I’m going to try to do it. But I’m just going to do my thing. And if I do the things I’m good at, I can be very successful.”
We’ll find out in October. Jordan Johnson faces second seed Maxim Grishin in the opening round of the PFL 2019 post-season, which takes place in Las Vegas.