Here at ArtofMMA.com we pride ourselves on bringing you not only big name fighters but introducing you to the up and comers in the sport. Recently we got the chance to talk to 21 year old amateur fighter Edward Johnson who fights in the MFL. Currently he is 4-2 and looking to turn pro by the end of 2013. He has a very interesting story so take a break this holiday weekend and get to know yet another fighter you may start seeing on Saturday nights in a bigger promotion. To get to know the man even more follow him on Twitter @ejohnson155.
Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us Edward, how’s everything going? Can you take a second and talk to us about what got you in to the world of MMA?
Johnson: Thanks for having me guys. Everything is going great and I am looking to get back into the cage.
I got into MMA for a couple of different reasons. My father had been a large influence in my life and taught me a lot about boxing so I had that but when I was 16 he passed away. Being that young it really effected me and I got into a lot of trouble due to my anger and guilt that he was gone. I started getting into a lot of fights and that led to trouble with the law. So after dealing with that I went to a gym to try out boxing and MMA and saw that I was really good and it has taken off since there.
Wow I am sure that was rough losing someone like your father but I am sure he is proud of you know and the path you are on. Now currently you are an amateur in the MFL. When do you see your jump to the pro ranking happening and what challenges or changes do you see with that jump?
Johnson: I would like to jump pro in September I feel I am ready for it. I already train full time, I don’t even consider my training camp leading up to a fight a “training” camp because I am in the gym for 2 a days each day. My schedule consists of the gym at 5am then to work then back to the gym. This is my life.
As for the differences that I see between amateur and pro, well I understand I will have to step it up a notch because the professional level is the top of the game. I would like to get my BJJ to a high level and achieve my Purple Belt. Also I know I work a little on my wrestling because it seems everyone in the world has a wrestling background and with cage control being so important to the judges, wrestling is a must. I do have two big strengths on my side in that my cardio is very good and my Muay Thai is pretty awesome.
But I feel I am ready. My mother sends me a card before each fight and on one of the them it had a quote I recently got tattooed which reads “He who kneels before God can stand in front of anything”. I really do believe that and it motivates me each time I read it. My mom hated it when I first started fighting but now she is like my biggest fan and I know my dad is there with her at each fight. She is the first person I see after each fight.
Those are some pretty smart answers and for a 21 year old they are pretty humble. Now what would you one of the fighters our readers would want to watch fight?
Johnson: I put on exciting fights and my Muay Thai is pretty impressive. I have never been dropped or KO’d in a fight. In fact I had a great fight vs a 2nd degree black belt in Karate where I was only hit 4 times. It was pretty cool.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far throughout your career?
Johnson: Being only 21 and having my Blue Belt in BJJ and Black Stache in Muay Thai are both very impressive but I would have to go with coming back from back surgery and being cleared to fight again. I had a disc shattered and it was touching my Sciatic nerve and I fought 3 fights like that, most people wouldn’t move with that much pain. When I first went in for surgery the Dr. told me I may never fight again. But I was just cleared to fight so to me this is a sign that this is my calling.
WOW! That sounds similar to the story Chad George told us when we talked with him. So now that you are back from surgery and cleared to fight what types of things are you working on to get back to where you were. You are in a world that a second of hesitation could end your night of career.
Johnson: Well after surgery I had two months of bed rest which sucked because I missed the gym. But now I am in no pain and walking back in to the gym for the first time I couldn’t take the smile off my face it was amazing. But yeah I saw some hesitation in the beginning but that is starting to fade away and I am eyeing a return date of August 17th for my return fight, it is also my birthday!
As for how I work on getting back to form, I have some of the best coaches and teammates in the world at The Bulldog Fight Team. I also work a lot with meditation and visualization. I know it sounds crazy but I have a recording of everything I experienced from the weigh-ins to the end of the fight in my battle with John McGuin (see his interview on our main page). I listen to it not only because it walks me through everything I went through so there are no surprises but also because I lost and it motivates me.
It’s funny because it was a very controversial fight (just listen to fans at the end in video) and there was a lot of emotion in that fight but now we are friends and training partners. He is a great guy.
Now it is time for our famous Fight Club Question, if you could stand across from anyone in the cage who would it be and why?
Johnson: Wow that’s a tough one. I would have to say any World Champion in the division I am in (155 and 170) because that is where I want to be. If I had to actually name someone it would have to be Ali because he is my favorite athlete of all time.
Very nice choices! Now last question for you, what do you think the future holds for you and what advise would you give to someone looking to get into the world of MMA?
Johnson: I don’t want to sound cocky but I want to be known as of the best greatest in all time whether it be MMA, BJJ or Muay Thai I want to be known as the greatest of all time!
As for advice that’s easy, leave your ego at the door because you will be humbled very quickly! There is always someone out there that is better than you so realize that and keep working harder and harder.
Wow that is a very impressive answer for a 21 year old guy!!! Well thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. Before we let you go are there any people or sponsors you would like to mention?
Johnson: I would like to thank the Bull.