When it comes to his first-round TKO win over Zac Kelly at LFA 83 this past March, featherweight Elijah Johns is glad to have gotten the win, but not enthusiastic about the circumstances surrounding the fight and how the victory came about.
As Johns puts it, the fight was almost scrapped due to multiple opponents dropping out, leading to a chaotic preparation and a general feeling of blasé about the whole experience.
“I didn’t think I was actually going to fight,” Johns told MMAWeekly.com. “It was a little bit topsy-turvy with my camp. (Wondering) am I going to fight or not going to fight, I kind of lost a little focus.
“I don’t really pride myself too much (on the win). I know I could have done better and done more preparation for the fight, but a win’s a win. It happened just before Covid, so I’m glad I got to get that under my belt.”
In the following months during the novel coronavirus lockdown, Johns did what he could to stay active, and ended up find a new appreciation for things due to the circumstances he found himself in.
“I started doing long runs and looking into how I could work out without weights,” said Johns. “I was doing some body mechanics, looking up how to strengthen muscles without any weights required. A lot of it was endurance.
“Working out outside around the trees and everything just kind of woke me up and really had me appreciate what I’d built as far as my body and my performance goes through the gym. It was some basic gratitude working outside and getting creative and implementing during such a crazy time.”
Friday in Park City, Kan., Johns (6-1) will seek to pick up his fifth win in a row when he faces off against Luke Faultersack (6-3) in an LFA 93 main card featherweight bout.
“Luke seems like he has a little bit of experience under his belt, but he’s never really fought anybody with a good record,” Johns said. “I think he’s a wrestler. I think he gets a little desperate for a shot; he wants to get it to the ground that bad.
“I think what I can do to get the win is stay patient, wait for my chance, and use all of my tools. I think is going to be my biggest advantage, my stand-up game, not a lot of people can take what I bring. I think it’s staying calm, not overlooking Luke, but using my patience and taking my time to strike and enjoying the moment and not over-analyzing.”
While Johns is open to closing out the year with another bout, for now he’s focused on his bout on Friday and making sure he comes out of it healthy before looking down the road.
“I’m a guy who likes to stay ready,” said Johns. “I like to train. I love the process of getting better. Sure I would love to get back in there, but you never know what will happen in a fight. Anything is possible.
“I would like a quick turnaround, and I’d be ready for a quick turnaround, but at the same time I’m open-minded and well-aware of the circumstances that can come from a fight.”
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(Video courtesy of LFA)