In what must seem like déjà vu, Kajan Johnson is once again facing the prospect of fighting Richie Whitson at MFC 31 on Oct. 7 after the two were to have squared off against each other in February.
“I tore my shoulder training for it,” explained Johnson as to why the fight didn’t happen. “I had to pull out of a couple of fights back-to-back (because) I really didn’t heal up properly for four and a half months to where I could punch again.”
Having last fought in November, the time off couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time according to Johnson.
“As a fighter, you’re only making money if you’re fighting, and MMA fans tend to have short memories, so you tend to disappear (off their radar) pretty quick in this sport,” he said. “I knew that after my fight in November with Ryan Healy, I really wanted to go bang, bang, bang, and fight on every show and get business taken care of, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.
“Why that happened, I’m not really sure, but everything happens for a reason. Obviously that I needed to learn or do more of whatever it was. I’m excited to fight now, and I’m thankful for whatever reason I was put out for that long, and I’m just looking forward to fighting.”
As for what people can expect from his match-up with Whitson, Johnson summed it up in one word, “Fireworks.”
Johnson then went on to state why he feels the fight could be so explosive, “We both show up to fight. It’s not going to be some 15-minute wrestling match where somebody’s trying to defend the takedown or on their back trying to get up the whole time; wherever it goes, standing or on the ground, there’s going to be action all the time.
“Fights like this are the reason I do this. Yes, I love the lifestyle and everything that goes with it, but I really like to get in there and just throw it all down and let go. There’s only certain fighters that allow you to do that, and Richie Whitson is one of those fighters.”
While injuries and changes in his training have seen Johnson only fight twice in the last two years, he has made changes that he feels will return him to the form that saw him win 12 of 15 fights since 2004.
“I’ve been to Xtreme Couture in Vegas and TriStar in Montreal for this camp, as well as having guys like Ryan Ford and Sabah Fadai in the Vancouver area work with me,” he said. “I’ve been training in total 10 different camps for this fight.
“My training partners have been really insane, like a who’s who of top fighters in the world like Kenny Florian, Mike Pyle, Martin Kampmann, Jay Hieron, and Georges St-Pierre; the list just goes on and on. I’ve been really fortunate to go to all these gyms and get this work, and I’m really, really thankful everything’s coming together for this one moment.”
Johnson knows that this fight could very well dictate his career path for the next couple of years, but he won’t let that affect the way he performs at the Mayfield Trade Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on Oct. 7.
“I try not to think about it too much because I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself,” he said. “I can only control what I can control, which is my actions and thoughts leading up to the fight.
“This fight is pretty much everything for me, but I’m just going to go out there and be myself. Whatever happens, happens. I’ll leave that up to God. I’m just going to go out and be me; that’s all I really can do.”