Following a few years of building himself up through the amateur and pro ranks in the United Kingdom, bantamweight Brett “The Pikey” Johns made his American debut this past March and proved why he was one of the top prospects overseas.
Facing UFC veteran Walel Watson, Johns was able to pick up a second-round submission win and claim the inaugural Titan FC 135-pound title in the process.
“I had 10 fights that had all been in my backyard, my home country of Whales, so it was my first fight in the United States,” Johns told MMAWeekly.com. “It was an amazing feeling that I will never forget. I’m very happy to be the Titan FC bantamweight champ.
“Watson is a very tough fighter who is very good with grappling, so that was something we worked on (neutralizing) in camp. The first round was even-ish, but I felt I secured it. The second round, I kept throwing elbows and eventually he gave me the rear-naked choke and I took it.”
For Johns, the reaction he got after his win in March was unlike anything he had experienced before.
“Like I said, I had 10 fights back home and I didn’t get much coverage, but I come here and have one fight and the coverage is just massive,” said Johns. “I felt like a king in Alabama, and now we’ll see if I can do it again in Kansas.”
“It’s a different match-up compared to Watson,” said Johns of facing Gutierrez. “Watson was a grappler, while Gutierrez is more of a striker. I feel like I match up well with him because my style is wrestling.
“I don’t feel his style will do very good against my wrestling. But it is a fight, and in fighting you have the luck of the draw, and sometimes you have a good night and sometimes you have a bad night.”
While Johns is focused on defending his title, he hopes that with a solid performance he’ll be able to move one step closer to the next level.
“To be honest, I’m only thinking about Gutierrez,” said Johns. “He’s a very good fighter. But I’d like to get a UFC call. I’m not sure if I’ll have to defend my belt once or twice in Titan, but that would be cool, I would be happy to do that as well.
“I looked the rankings few weeks ago and saw that I was ranked in the top ten in the world, so I don’t feel that I’m too far away. A win will definitely help me make my way up the ladder.”