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"He doesn't want to fight me, he is looking for easy fights" - Johnny Walker claims Anthony Smith ducked him [Exclusive]

UFC Fight Night: Walker v Spann
UFC Fight Night: Walker v Spann
Modified 07 Mar 2021

"I have a high tolerance for pain," says Johnny Walker, who had his fight with Jimmy Crute at UFC 260 scrapped because of a chest injury.

"When the tendon broke from my bone, I didn't really feel it too much," the description sounds horrifying, but according to the light heavyweight fighter, it is the recovery process that bothers him the most.

Johnny Walker told Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview that he underwent surgery one week after his pectoral muscle injury happened in early February.

He describes the moment of pain with an analogy that would even make Italians tremble.

"I felt the tendon breaking. It was like spaghetti. Do you know when you break raw spaghetti together? I felt like something like this happened in my chest, in my bone. Then I thought, 'F*ck, I think I broke something.'"

But the experience has served to at least make him more aware of injuries. This was the second time Johnny Walker had to go under the doctor's knife in his career. However, none of the lesions happened during a fight.

"My first one happened because I was celebrating with the worm, right? Then I jumped on the floor to celebrate, and I dislocated my shoulder," Johnny Walker recalled. "I think this was because I was overload with too much training, too many fights. So, I didn't pay attention to what my body was telling me, to what was annoying it a bit. I just kept pushing it and pushing it until the one time that it broke."

This time, the muscle in Johnny Walker's chest tore in one of his routine training sessions while lifting weight in a bench press.

"I don't really know why it happened. It was just like an accident. I was training, and it was pretty normal, and then it just happened. So, now I have to be really careful with my body because I don't want another surgery. I have just to strengthen my base. Improve my stability, you know, and I've to work a lot with my strength conditioning coach, and whenever I feel something, I will have to run to the physiotherapist and fix this before it gets worse."

Even with the extra care, the timeline for his recovery will be long. Johnny Walker has already booked his new visit to the doctor and expects he will be cleared to sign a new fight contract in three months.

"Then I'm going to have like two months to do my training camp. So, I'm probably going to fight in five months from now. Maybe four. I don't know, let's see."

UFC middleweight contender Jared Cannonier, who suffered a similar injury in 2020, had to wait for about six months before getting the go-ahead signal for his next fight.

The promotion then maintained Crute's fight at UFC 260 and replaced Johnny Walker with Anthony Smith, whom he had called out after his last fight.

Sitting at No. 10 in the light heavyweight rankings, the Brazilian didn't hide his disappointment with the forced cut.

"I was really sad because I was doing really well on my training camp. I was really fast, and my boxing was improving. I was improving all of my techniques, you know. My takedown defense, my takedowns, my jiu-jitsu. Working a lot on my defense, so I was doing really good."

After a quick spell in Canada, Johnny Walker moved to Ireland, where he started training at SBG Gym, famous because of a certain pupil called Conor McGregor.

Training under coach John Kavanagh, the Brazilian expects to improve even more as a knockout artist. The fight with Crute would be the second under the world-famous coach's guidance.

But things didn't quite work out his way this time.


As soon as Kavanagh returned from McGregor's training camp for his rematch with Dustin Poirier, Johnny Walker got injured.

"I'm really sad about that. But yeah, I'm learning, you know. I'm going to avoid this, and I'm going to avoid injuries and stuff like that."

Another thing that has made Johnny Walker upset was how his then-adversary reacted to his severe lesion's news. Crute wrote on his social media that he "was disappointed that his opponent had ducked him."

"No, it doesn't really annoy me, but it's not nice when you're here training, and like, [Jimmy] Crute says that 'I'm jumping out of the fight because I'm scared,' or something like that. But, you know, he just wanted to promote himself," Johnny Walker shakes off.
"And what can I say? I cannot fight with my arm after a surgery like that. You can see the pictures on my Instagram. It was aggressive. It was not so aggressive like the last on my shoulder, but the doctor opened me and connected my tendon to my bone again, like with some screws, some metal. Nobody can fight like that," he elaborated.

The bout with Crute went straight to the initial opponent desired by Walker. Anthony Smith made himself ready in no time to step in.


Now Johnny Walker is anxious to see the outcome of the fight he was supposed to be in. But according to him, he does not have a preferred side, as he wants to fight them both.

"I challenged him [Smith] last time after my last win. I said, 'I want to fight Anthony Smith,' and he didn't really accept the fight against me. And it's really funny because when my fight was canceled now, he accepted [to fight Crute] straight away. So, he just doesn't want to fight me. He is looking for easy fights," Johnny Walker said.
"But now I don't know whom I want to win because I want to fight whoever wins. I want to beat the sh*t out of Jimmy Crute and Anthony Smith soon," he added.

Three to five months can be a long time in the UFC, and Johnny Walker is aware of that. He knows it will be a hard road to get back to the position he held before the injury.

"The rankings can change really quickly. Because I'm not active anymore, right? People kept fighting. It's fair because they have to move forward," Johnny Walker said.

The light heavyweight hot prospect, who is being linked to a potential title shot in the future, has already lost a position in the rankings since February.

In addition to focusing on his recovery, the 6-foot-6 tall fighter will also use the unwanted extra time on his hands to study the division ahead of his return.

"I want to see what's going to happen in the next three months. Then I'm going to see whom I'm going to challenge," Johnny Walker concludes.

Johnny Walker eager to fight with a crowd again

UFC Fight Night Covington v Woodley: Weigh-Ins
UFC Fight Night Covington v Woodley: Weigh-Ins

Missing the excitement generated by fans, Johnny Walker can't wait for the public to be back at the arenas. He expects that by the time he is back in action, the restrictions will have been eased.

"Yeah, I hope we can have crowds again when I come back to fight. That really makes me excited, you know. I like to fight for crowds for people. So, I'm hoping that they can come back with the Arenas in the next five months because this was a form to make the show, to feel the energy, and send the energy back. This makes a big difference for me. So, I get really excited. You know, I'm like a showman, and I like to put the show on," Johnny Walker said.
Published 06 Mar 2021, 13:34 IST
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