Following his timely push by the UFC upon his debut in the light heavyweight division, Brazilian contender, Johnny Walker is planning a “step by step” climb to through the official pile – two losses removed from his initial run.
The 28-year-old returns to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night Vegas on September 19 – attempting to snap a two-fight skid, as he meets with former LFA light heavyweight titleholder, Ryan ‘Superman’ Spann. The September showcase will mark Walker’s second UFC walk of the year, following his homecoming at UFC Fight Night Brasília in March – in an eventual unanimous judging defeat to former Fight Nights Global 205-pound best, Nikita Krylov.
Walker, a product of Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil was pushed to the moon by the promotion, given his timely fashion of finishing fights, and overall charismatic demeanour. The Rio de Janeiro native would score notable wins over TUF alumnus, Khalil Rountree Jr. – and a flying knee stoppage of Misha Cirkunov – with title contender status already surrounding his name.
Catapulted to a high-stakes matchup with recent Bellator MMA signee, Corey Anderson at UFC 244 last November – Walker would drop first promotional blemish, following an opening-round barrage from the then #7 ranked perennial contender. As is the case more often than not with the promotion, it proved too much, far too soon.
Speaking with Jordan Ellis from LowKickMMA, a much more reserved Walker, under the tutelage of John Kavanagh at SBG Ireland once again – spoke of a much more steady progression through the ranks of the UFC’s light heavyweight stack, when asked about his upcoming clash with the aforementioned, Spann.
“I’m ready, I think this win is going to put me on the right spot, you know?” Walker explained. “I wanna climb a little bit, step by step. After this guy (Ryan Spann), I wanna beat somebody like – not very, very close to like number one or number two, no.” I don’t wanna challenge nobody, I wanna do step by step and get there – we’ve come down like no rush. I don’t want to wait too much as well, I want to fight again maybe one more time this year. I wanna come back to the right spot where I was before my two losses.“
The #11 ranked contender spoke more about his plans for a third outing this annum, and eyes a gradual ascension through the two or three contenders above him, which currently include former opponents, Cirkunov and Krylov, as well as UFC Fight Night Vegas 8 headliner, Aleksandar Rakić.
“I want to come step by step and probably I’m going to pick somebody two or three – if God blesses me I can get this win,” Walker said. “I’m gonna pick somebody two or three places higher than me, and go slowly, and climb to the top and the rank number one, and deserve the title shot again, you know? I almost got there. If I bet Corey Anderson and one more guy, I could get the title shot, but sometimes you have to step back and breath to get better and jump higher. I’m sure this will happen with me, and I’ll be back better.“