Shane Roller is in a must-win situation. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Shane Roller’s back is against the wall.
After losing two straight in the Octagon, he might not keep his job if he loses again Saturday against Michael Johnson at UFC on Fox 2.
That doesn’t mean he’s putting any additional pressure on himself, though.
“I’m taking the same approach I always do when I get in the Octagon,” Roller told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “It’s a must-win every time. I’m prepared just like I always am and I’m ready to go.”
Roller hasn’t had much time to prepare for the bout. He said he got the call to replace an injured Cody McKenzie on roughly three weeks’ notice.
“It’s like cramming for a final,” Roller said. “I had to cram everything in real quick because I took the fight on short notice, but I’m ready. I’m looking forward to it.”
After losing via submission to T.J. Grant in October, Roller had chips removed from his elbow and took about four weeks off. He was back in training when the UFC called, but he wasn’t exactly in fighting shape.
“I was in the gym every day, but not quite as intense and my diet wasn’t the same as what it is during a training camp,” he said. “So my weight was a little heavy and I wasn’t in the best of shape, but I’m able to be close enough to take a fight like this.”
Johnson also suffered a loss in October, submitting to Paul Sass via heel hook. He’s had mixed success in the UFC, but Roller is complimentary of his game.
“He has some good wrestling and has some power in his hands,” Roller said. “He’s dropped a few people. Just like any fight, you’ve got to be ready to get in there and be ready to go in any situation. If it goes to the ground, I’ve got to use my wrestling, my jiu-jitsu, and if it’s a standup war, then I’m ready to throw bombs and try to get a knockout.”
On paper, Roller is certainly the superior wrestler. He was a three-time All-American at Oklahoma State University, but he’s not necessarily planning on taking Johnson down.
“I can see it going two ways,” Roller said. “We’ve got two wrestlers. A lot of times that ends as just a standup war. He’s a good athlete and pretty good at defending takedowns. I’m not dead set on just going in there and trying to wrestle. I want to use my hands and set things up and go for a knockout. I know I’ve got power in my hands. I hurt a lot of people. In almost every fight I fight, there’s one or two punches where I catch them good. I’ve got to utilize that, and if the opportunity’s there, I will take a shot and try to get it to the ground.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:25:25).