After dropping four of his last five inside the Octagon, it was like a win or go-home situation for Johnny Walker at UFC 279.
Win is exactly what Johnny Walker did, scoring the first submission victory of his UFC career with a first-round rear-naked choke of Ion Cutelaba. Following his big finish, Walker spoke with James Lynch in a Middle Easy exclusive to discuss what is next for the 30-year-old Brazilian. During the conversation, Walker expressed an interest in being part of the UFC’s return to Brazil in 2023.
The UFC announced that they would be heading to Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro for UFC 283 on January 21st. It will be the UFC’s first event in Brazil in nearly three years. Many expect the event to be headlined by a rematch between newly crowned UFC light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka and former world champion Glover Teixeira. However, Johnny Walker isn’t so sure that the world title rematch will happen, suggesting that Prochazka might be afraid to face Teixeira in his home country.
“I think Jiri is a little bit scared to fight in Brazil with the Brazilian crowd. Maybe that can mess his head up, but I don’t know. If I was a true champion, I would fight anyone, anywhere. Any crowd, I don’t care. I’d go there and do my job, you know? I think he should accept that fight and show everyone he’s really a champion.”
Johnny Walker Backs Fellow Brazilian Glover Teixeira in Potential Rematch with Jiri Prochazka
As far as who gets their hand raised in the highly-anticipated rematch, Johnny Walker is backing his fellow countryman Glover Teixeira to recapture the light heavyweight crown.
“I think Glover knows it’s his last best shot so he’s training really hard and let’s see what happens. I hope Glover gets the win.
As for who’s next for Johnny Walker, the No. 11 ranked light heavyweight doesn’t have any specific names in mind, but when pressed, threw out a potential opponent in the No. 9 ranked Paul Craig.
“I don’t know yet. I’d have to look at the rankings, but maybe Paul Craig.”
Craig’s five-five win streak was recently snapped at the hands of Volkan Oezdemir in July. A match-up with Walker could be mutually beneficial as it would give Walker an opportunity to climb into the top ten ranks while giving ‘Bearjew’ a solid opportunity to get back into the win column and inch his way closer to title contention.