NBA veteran James Johnson, rumored to have a 20-0 kickboxing record, continues to be the most feared player in the league

NBA star James Johnson most feared man in the league
NBA star James Johnson most feared man in the league

Indiana Pacers forward James Johnson is a veteran of the NBA and a trained martial artist who has won the respect of his peers thanks to his exploits in combat sports.

Johnson has been an NBA player for the last 13 years. However, he is a formidable MMA fighter, with seven MMA bouts under his belt and a perfect 20-0 record in kickboxing.

With that, it wouldn't come as a surprise that the 36-year-old reportedly received the most votes from the 108 NBA players polled by Sam Amick and Josh Robbins of The Athletic for "who in the league would you least like to fight?" Johnson received 41.1% of the 90 votes cast.

While the identities of those who voted were kept a secret, one player claimed:

"The whole league would say the same thing. That's not smoke they want. I've seen it in person."

The second-place went to Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams, who received 27.8 percent of the vote:

"He loves to wrestle. He's just tough. You know you're going to be covered in bruises after wrestling him. Yeah, he's a tough dude."

James Johnson is a martial arts practitioner with a second-degree black belt. At the age of 18, he competed in his first MMA bout, which he reportedly won by knockout in 97 seconds. The similarities between his fighting style and that of the late Muhammad Ali led to him being nicknamed 'Little Ali'.

When NBA star James Johnson claimed that he's open to a move to the UFC following after his basketball carrer

James Johnson comes from a long line of martial arts experts and stands at 6 feet 7 inches and 240 pounds. He's competed and won in multiple styles of martial arts, including MMA and kickboxing.

In a previous interview with Fanatics View, Johnson stated he would be excited to return to his "first passion" of MMA if Dana White called to discuss a possible UFC career. He stated:

“I’ve been fighting my whole life… That’s my first love, my first passion. I would love that [to fight for the UFC after my NBA career]. The fighter mentality, the fighter heart it never goes. I still see guys right now still trying to kick away, [like] Chuck Liddell, [Anderson] Silva. You got guys that just can’t get away from the game.”

Check out Johnson's full interview below:


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Edited by C. Naik
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