“I had a son back in 2009 and he became the priority and I had kind of re-evaluated some things,” he said. “I took the time off to just make sure everything was in order so that I was able to put the time into fight to be successful at it.
“Now I’m able to make sure things at home are taken care of and things with my fighting are taken care of.”
Even though he wasn’t competing in MMA during his hiatus, he was staying busy developing his game and trying out other combat sports.
“In that time I took off from MMA, I actually took up professional boxing,” he said. “I really worked hard on my boxing a lot. I’m actually 2-0 in pro boxing and it’s something I’m really proud of.
“I started out as just a wrestler and I’ve worked really hard to round myself out and tap into every outlet of the fight game.”
Johnson makes his return to MMA Saturday at NAAFS: Caged Fury 18 in Charleston, W.V., against up-and-coming Ohio fighter Tyler Beckley.
“I’m not sure about a whole lot about (Beckley), but my outlook at it is this is my first fight in a couple years and I’m not the one with a whole lot to lose here. I’m just going to go out there and have fun,” said Johnson.
“Since I’ve fought, I’ve never really game planed for a fight. I’ve had the mindset that if I go out there and fight my fight. They’re going to have to adjust to how I’m fighting instead of having a (set) plan. It’s like that old saying goes, everybody has a plan until they get hit, and I’ve just always lived by that.”
Prior to his layoff, Johnson had won eight straight fights, and he told MMAWeekly.com that he’s eager to continue to build off the momentum he’d built up three years ago and shoot for something big in his return.
“I’m 25 now, I have a decent record and I want to give it one last shot and go at it with a full head of steam right out of the gate,” he said.
“I don’t want to mess around with it. I’ve fought tough competition before and tough guys before, and the game’s always evolving, but I’m going to run at it with a full head of steam and see where it goes.”