Tim Johnson lands back-to-back first round finishes thanks to TKO of Mitrione at Bellator 243.
Tim Johnson has fought the label of Journeyman, a title given to fighters that do enough to stick around but never really accomplish the ultimate goal of hitting the top of their sport. With his second 1st round TKO in a row, against Matt Mitrione at Bellator 243, Johnson (14-6) has now safely distanced himself from the term.
Instead, it’s time to look forward. And upwards in the heavyweight division.
“I’ve had multiple opportunities throughout my career and I’ve messed them all up,” Johnson told the media following Friday’s event. “I had the title up til’ this fight today, the title of a journeyman, for good reason. I didn’t want to go through my career as that. I’m making a push.”
Of those past opportunities, a fight against former title challenger Cheick Kongo was one Johnson jumped on in Bellator. He admitted to forcing the takedown in that fight, which led to his demise. But he’s learned from the experience and would love to have that one back.
“That [Kongo] is a name that is in front of me that I need to get through” Johnson stated. “I’m just hoping for a fight here, I feel good. Maybe I get a fight here in September against someone who is in line and puts me in title contention.”
Another name that Johnson would love to have back is Vitaly Minakov. Johnson took a fight with the ex-champ on less than a days notice and was defeated at Bellator 225 in the first round. Johnson not only wants to show he is better than that performance, but also idolizes his former opponent.
“Minakov would be great,” Johnson stated. “Maybe I’m a fan boy, I put him up on a pedestal where some people put Fedor [Emelianenko]. I’ve followed Minakov for years, he’s the best heavyweight in the world, at least in the top three.”
Watch the full Bellator 243 post-fight press conference with Tim Johnson above.