Following a year and a half layoff, welterweight Charlie Johnson returned to fighting this past May and claimed a title he had been long pursing.
Facing Jason Flowers at Alaska FC 148, Johnson was able to finish the fight with a submission and earn a title with his second straight victory.
“I finally got to fight for the title a couple months back and that was good,” Johnson told MMAWeekly.com. “Prior to that I had been out for some time due to injury. We were just trying to take the time to get healthy again and not rush into things and be compromised.
“We wanted to make sure we were healthy and good to go before we got into anything, and when we were healthy we took that title fight and came out on top. Now I want to turn around and get back in there as soon as possible. I don’t want to waste any more time.”
One thing that helped Johnson get back into the groove of things was the fact that he didn’t spend any time away from the cage by not only training but by also helping his teammates with their fights as well.
“Once I got going I didn’t feel like I had been gone,” said Johnson. “I made a real big effort this year to go to all the events and corner all my guys and be at every show just to feel like I’m there all the time. I didn’t miss a card.
“I was constantly in that atmosphere. To me that feels like the biggest part of it, being back stage, hearing the crowd – that seems to be the anxious part of the whole ordeal – so I made it a real strong point to always be there for my teammates. So when I was there and it was time for me to fight it was just another fight card. It’s the same thing as always. It’s just another day to go to work.”
On Wednesday in Anchorage, Alaska, Johnson (7-1) will look to defend his title for the first time when he takes on Tyler Milner (8-5) in a 170-pound championship bout at Alaska FC 152.
“Tyler is tough,” Johnson said. “He’s been fighting for a while. He’s got more fights than me. He’s well-rounded, which is why I want to fight him. To me he’s a validating opponent; to beat a guy like him I think will say a lot about me and why I am the champion and deserve to be the champion.
“There’s nothing really crazy or special I’m going to have to do about it, the truth is I just have to go out and fight my fight. I know it’s cliché, but I need to go and handle it the way I handle it. If I fight the way I can fight I don’t see him beating me anywhere. All due respect, he’s tough and that’s why I want to fight him, but I should beat him anyway. I just need to put the pressure on him and make it happen.”
Now that he has accomplished a goal of becoming a champion, Johnson wants to turn his attention towards making it to the next level sooner than later.
“For a long time it has been fight by fight, but I feel like I’m at the point of my career where I can start pushing for the next level,” said Johnson. “There’s not a lot of guys like Tyler up here who are willing to fight a guy (in me) who is really trying to make a career of it. I will defend my belt and will continue to do it as long as I need to, but I want to move forward and move to a bigger organization.”