Light-heavyweight contender Johnny Walker has opened up about switching camps from Tristar in Canada to SBG in Ireland ahead of his fight against Ryan Spann on September 19.

Walker spent several months with his family in Brazil after his last fight – a decision loss to Nikita Krylov at UFC Brasilia back in March. The 28-year-old later traveled to Ireland on holiday with his girlfriend. Speaking exclusively to LowKickMMA Walker revealed once there the UFC approached him the chance to fight Ryan Spann in September, he said.

“After my last fight, I spent the lockdown in Brazil, almost three months or four months with my family there. It was a crazy time. Everybody with masks and the cases rising. After this, I was almost five months without seeing my girlfriend and she gets a holiday because she works in Qatar and she came to Ireland.

“When I arrived here to spend time with her on holiday the UFC offer me the fight (Ryan Spann) again because they offered me the fight when I was in Brazil. I couldn’t accept because I have no good gyms there to train you know everything is shutting down. So, it’s not a good time to accept the fight. So I came here to spend time with my girlfriend and the UFC offered me the fight again.”

Walker has previously spoken with excitement about his budding relationship with renowned MMA coach Firas Zahabi who runs Tristar gym in Montreal. To much surprise, Walker didn’t return to Canada to train with the man who helped shape the careers of Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald but that wasn’t by choice.

“I couldn’t fly back to Montreal to train with Firas Zahabi,” Walker explained. “I messaged John Kavanagh and then I asked if he could help me with this training camp because I was here before and I know he’s a really good coach. I’ve trained with him before he’s amazing. He said he could train me, so yeah, here I am.

The 205lb knockout artist is enjoying his time at SBG and heaped praise on Kavanagh who he believes could help make him a champion, he said.

“It’s really good. John is really professional. He’s a really good coach. He knows how to make a champion. I hope he can make me a champion one day. He’s a really, really good coach. Everybody is really nice. All of the training partners are really professional. Everybody looks after everybody.  

Walker is unsure if he will stay with SBG or return to Tristar. He is refusing to think too far ahead in the middle of a global pandemic, he said.

“I want to stop somewhere. Be part of the team but you never know what is going to happen. You cannot make plans right now because of this situation. I hope it gets better soon because then you can make plans.”

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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.