Following relocation and beginning to work with a new team, middleweight Taylor Johnson was ready to return to action for the first time in over a year when he faced Ed Ruth at Bellator 245 this past September.
In just under a minute, Taylor was able to TKO Ruth and pick up his first win for Bellator.
“I got to fight Ed, and that was a huge opportunity,” Johnson told MMAWeekly.com. “(It felt like) no time had passed (since my last fight). I was ready to go.
“I have really good coaches and training partners. I don’t like to step into the cage unprepared. I do my best to get ready to every fight. It was kind of wild how that fight played out.”
For Johnson, the 2020 version of himself is superior in a lot of ways compared to years past, even with time lost due to the novel coronavirus lockdown.
“I’m a little more composed,” said Taylor. “I know in my previous fights in the LFA and Contender Series, I kind of get a little excited going out. That last fight going in against Ed I was composed and tried not to get excited. It’s very easy for me to get excited when I go out there.
“I’ve really tried to focus on my nutrition and my diet. With my weight cut and the way I was going about my camp I wasn’t training myself as best I could. This year I’ve just tried to get everything dialed in.”
On Thursday in Uncasville, Conn., Johnson (6-1) will look to pick up his second straight win when he faces Johnny Eblen (6-0) in a preliminary middleweight bout at Bellator 250.
“Johnny looks like a solid dude,” Johnson said. “He fights hard. He’s a grinder, which I’m used to because some of my training partners have the same style.
“I don’t think he’s faced anybody who has actually put all of his abilities to the test, and I see myself doing that. I see this being a pretty good scrap for both of us.”
For Johnson it’s one step at a time as he works his way up the Bellator ranks.
“Just one fight at a time; I try not to look too far out in front,” said Johnson. “You can never look past anybody in MMA. Everyone’s beatable; you have bad days, you can slip up and get caught.
“I just try to live one fight at a time, one day at a time, try to give my best performance, try to get it done and live in the now.”