Johnny Walker is set to face Thiago Santos in his first-ever UFC main event on October 2.

The Brazilian KO artist is hoping that he’ll come through one of his toughest tests to date unscathed and be able to quickly turn around to compete before the year is done, preferably at UFC 269.

Anthony Smith is set to square off against Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 37 tonight (September 18). Walker expects ‘Lionheart’ to have his hands full with his former opponent for a round before eventually emerging victorious.

“Anthony Smith is not very explosive,” Walker told LowKickMMA. “He doesn’t knock people down straight away but he’s very technical and he’s a very good fighter – he’s in the top 10 for a long time. If he survives the first round, he’s going to beat Ryan Span in the second or the third. Ryan Spann is very strong, and he can knock people down in the first round, but I don’t think he’s going to survive too much with ‘Lionheart’, with his pressure because after the second, third rounds he just grow grow, grow in the fight, you know. If it finishes in the first, Ryan Spann. After the first round, Anthony Smith.

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“If Anthony Smith beats Ryan Spann, maybe I can fight Anthony Smith,” Walker replied when asked who he’d like to face next with a win over Santos. “If he lost, maybe I’m going to challenge Jiri Prochazka, Rakic or whatever it will be in the top five because I need top five fights before the belt. So, maybe two or three more wins I’ll be ready.”

“I really wish that I fight (at) the end of December,” Walker said. “To finish this year with two wins and then next year the belt is gonna be on my list soon, you know.

“They can put me on the (UFC 269) preliminaries, or anyone spot on the card for the end of the year. I accept, I don’t really care,” Walker concluded.  

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Do you think we’ll get to see Johnny Walker vs. Anthony Smith in December?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.