If Octagon jitters exist, Johnny Walker was immune to them.
Walker made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut to little fanfare in 2018, then proceeded to rip through his first three opponents—Khalil Rountree, Justin Ledet and Misha Cirkunov—in less than three minutes combined, injecting much-needed life into the light heavyweight division. UFC evaluators wondered if they had an unlikely contender on their hands, and the jury remains out. In two subsequent appearances, Walker was knocked out by “The Ultimate Fighter 19” winner Corey Anderson and Ukrainian brute Nikita Krylov.
With Walker’s next move uncertain, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He developed a championship pedigree on the regional circuit.
Walker captured titles in two organizations—Ultimate Challenge MMA and European Beatdown—prior to his arrival in the UFC. He knocked out Stuart Austin with a knee strike to win the UCMMA light heavyweight championship on Feb. 10, 2018 and dismissed Cheick Kone with punches to take the Extreme Beatdown light heavyweight crown on March 17, 2018.
2. A live-by-the-sword-die-by-the-sword approach defines him.
All but two of Walker’s fights, 16 of his 17 wins and four of his five losses, have resulted in a finish. He won a unanimous decision over Henrique da Silva on Aug. 11, 2018 and lost a unanimous verdict to Krylov on March 14, 2020.
3. Height sets him apart.
At 6-foot-5, Walker is the tallest light heavyweight on the active UFC roster—an inch taller than Ryan Spann, Alexander Gustafsson and Kennedy Nzechukwu. He stands 10 inches taller than the organization’s shortest competitors at 205 pounds: Dalcha Lungiambula.
4. He already holds a prominent spot in the record book.
Walker recorded the fifth-fastest finish in Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight history when he wiped out Ledet 15 seconds into the first round of their UFC Fight Night 144 encounter. Only Ryan Jimmo (seven seconds), James Irvin (eight seconds), Anthony Johnson (13 seconds) and Anthony Perosh (14 seconds) have closed out fights quicker at 205 pounds.
5. His skills are in demand.
The 28-year-old Walker has competed in 16 different promotions during his 22-fight career. In addition to the UFC, he has appeared in Dana White’s Contender Series, European Beatdown, Krwawy Sport, Ultimate Challenge MMA, Brave Combat Federation, Katana Fight, Jungle Fight, Imortal Fight Championship, Samurai Fight Combat, Parana Vale Tudo, Peru Fighting Championship, Circuito Team Nogueira de MMA, Gigante Fight, Uba Fight and Circuito Invictus de MMA. His 22 bouts have taken place in six separate countries: the United States, Brazil, Peru, England, Belgium and Argentina.
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