Johnny Walker has lofty goals for his mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
This past weekend (Jan. 21, 2023) saw the Brazilian showman get back on a winning streak with another impressive performance. Opening the UFC 283 main card, Walker battered Paul Craig with strikes, scoring a technical knockout right over the two-minute mark (watch highlights).
Walker entered the promotion with tons of hype and performances that made led many to believe he could be a future threat to the then-Light Heavyweight titleholder, Jon Jones. Jones has since departed for Heavyweight, but Walker is strongly inspired by “Bones’” old rival, Daniel Cormier, and targets becoming a dual-division champion himself someday.
“It’s my dream as well [to win two divisional belts] and this guy did,” Walker told the media after UFC 283 (h/t MMA Fighting). “I want to be on his level someday. I want to be a good wrestler as well, improve all of my skills, bring it up because I want to be there. I want to be ready to do what he did.
“I know it’s a huge thing to do,” he continued. “He’s a special fighter, he’s a motivation not just for me, but for everyone else. He’s a big, big motivation and I want to do what he did. I’m coming, [Jon Jones], I’m still coming.”
During his run on the regional scene, Walker fought a handful of his first 16 fights at Heavyweight, but has stuck with Light Heavyweight in UFC. The flashy and exuberant striker impressed many with his previous win over Ion Cutelaba, showing off submission abilities that led to a first-round rear-naked choke victory (watch highlights).
Walker, 30, appears to have suffered a minor injury in his short fight with Craig, so the timetable for his next bout is unclear.