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What changed for Johnny Walker under John Kavanagh?

Johnny Walker
Johnny Walker
ANALYST
Modified 23 Sep 2020, 11:52 IST
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Johnny Walker jumped back to winning ways after impressive stoppage victory over rising contender Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 11. After suffering a brutal first round KO loss to Corey Anderson at UFC 244, Walker suffered his second straight loss against Nikita Krylov back in March of 2020.

Johnny Walker was seen as a huge threat to then Lightweight Champion Jon Jones leading to his fight against Corey Anderson. However, Anderson humbled Walker with an upset win over the rising prospect. Soon after the loss, Walker would change his training team, moving to Canada to train at Tristar Gym alongside world-renowned Firas Zahabi and former Welterweight Champion and probably one of the greatest mixed martial artist of all time Georges St-Pierre. Despite two of the best trainers, Nikita Krylov dominated Johnny Walker throught the three rounds of the fight, taking him down on several occassions. Walker gassed out towards the end of the second round, and could hardly do anything in the third to steal a win. Walker lost a lopsided unanimous decision against Krylov and would go on to change his gym one more time.

Johnny Walker currently trains at SBG under John Kavanagh in Ireland

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

Johnny Walker currently trains at Straight Blast Gym, Ireland under world-renowned John Kavanagh. SBG boasts of incredible pool of talents including the former dual Champion Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson, and Artem Lobov.

Despite being dropped twice, Johnny Walker was able to steal a win against the former LFA Champion. Ryan Spann was able to take Walker down, however, was able to get up and did not let his power diminish despite solid exchange in the first few minutes of the fight. Walker ended Spann with lethal punches and hammerfists.

Johnny Walker picked up his first win after almost an year, and announced his return to the light heavyweight division. So what changed for Walker under new coach John Kavanagh?

John Kavanagh knows how to groom knockout artists like Johnny Walker

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John Kavanagh is a 3rd degree Black Belt in Brailian Jiu-Jitsu, and that's saying something about someone who has trained one of the most fiercest strikers in the history of mixed martial arts Conor McGregor. John Kavanagh was voted "Coach of the Year" in 2007 by the World MMA Awards.

I’ll go to (SBG with) John Kavanagh in Ireland. I’ve trained with him before, and now I’ll see how things go with Firas. I have two great coaches who want to work with me, so I’ll see which one is better for me.” - Johnny Walker ahead of his move to Tristar.

It's safe to say that John Kavanagh knows how to groom solid knockout artists. With four back to back first round finishes at the llight heavyweight division, Johnny Walker was set for higher things when he was squared off against UFC veteran Corey Anderson. However, he failed to impress, losing via TKO.

Johnny Walker
Johnny Walker
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Johnny Walker had this to say about John Kavanagh ahead of his fight against Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 11.

“It’s been one of the best camps I’ve ever had,” Walker said. “Coach Kavanagh is taking great care of me, he’s giving me special attention here, and I’m really happy. He’s very smart and does great training. He’s super professional, and there are a lot of big guys here as well, some Bellator fighters, so it’s great training for me.”

John Kavanagh had words of praise for Walker's power, and rightfully so. Kavanagh has trained knockout artists before, and knows just what to do for them to excel inside the octagon. We have seen it with Conor McGregor. Johnny Walker has trained with John Kavanagh in the past, and both of them go along well. Walker had stated that he wished to train with John Kavanagh even before joining Firas Zahabi at Tristar in Canada.

After a bad relationship with his first coach, it seems like Johnny Walker has found his right mental space in preparation for his upcoming fight. Additionally, with a black belt in BJJ, Kavanagh is every fighter's dream to train for mixed martial arts. Kavanagh's fight IQ and his knowledge of the sport should definitely be of utmost important to rising prospect Johnny Walker. With credible power in his hands, Johnny Walker is a serious threat to all the light-heavyweight fighters.

Published 23 Sep 2020, 11:52 IST
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