Former college football player Omar Johnson talks third straight MMA win

Lightweight Omar Johnson earned his third straight knockout victory on August 22nd when he defeated Bradley Thompson at Strikehard 40 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. For Johnson, who made his professional MMA debut last November, it was an impressive victory because of how quickly he finished his opponent. “I was pretty satisfied  it ended pretty quickly.” Johnson told MMAOddsBreaker. “[However]  being a perfectionist, I think I started out a little flat, but overall I thought it was a great performance. I knew that he would have good movement because of his boxing background. I felt he’d be a little more gun shy, but he came out pretty aggressive. Ultimately once I figured out the timing. I was able to land a clean punch and that’s where the fight took place and I was able to get my takedown and get my ground and pound from there.” Johsnon (3-0) admits everything went according to plan and one of the biggest things he was able to display in the fight was his wide ranging skillset. “One of the things biggest things was that were trying to work into clinch, dirty box against the cage and work the Thai clinch and elbows and what not. But another part of me also wanted to secure the takedown just to show that I’m a  well-rounded mix martial artist. A lot of people have the stigma that I’m just a standup fighter. But I was glad the fight ended up hitting the ground so that I could show that I am capable of handling my own and performing well on the ground as well.” The 26-year old celebrated with friends after the bout and took advantage of the Southern Cooking he’s accustomed too when he’s not cutting weight. “I had 30 piece of wings, I’m a big wings guy.  I did honey bbq, hot and ghost pepper so I did 10, 10 and 10. Down south you can’t go wrong with anything friend. My favorite is Wings Plus, it’s kind of bad when I’m cutting weight it’s across the street from the gym.” The celebrations didn’t last long however. Johnson admitted he’s always meticulous about his performances and is constantly finding ways to improve his overall game. “[I celebrated] same way I always do. I just go out with my friends they probably do a little more celebrating then I do. I kind of dwell on the fight and reenact the fight over and over again, think about what I could do different, that’s typically how it goes. There’s always room for improvement. I think a lot of people with success, you can go 5-0, 6-0 and start believing in themselves a little too much. Even in victory you can always have learning points. You could look at some of the negatives in the fight and build off of that. It may not seem like a lot of people, based off a 1:20 fight but there are always areas for improvement.” Along with having his hand raised, Johnson also took satisfaction in his teammate Eryk Anders earning his first professional bout. “That was great, I was really happy for him. The fight played out just like I predicted for him I told him go out, do your thing. I felt like if he landed a clean punch the guy would fall and crumble. That’s pretty much what happened so everything worked out perfectly.” While he doesn’t have a fight lined up yet, the Spartan MMA and Fitness product was right back in the gym following his third straight victory. “I was back in the gym on Monday training and what not. We’re scaling down a little bit because the fight prep was really intense. I was still back to training, even last night I actually was promoted to my blue belt in jiu-jitsu. I didn’t take any injures so there was no need to take time off. Typically we just drill, focus on things and critique certain things. We don’t really have a set plan, we just train and work on certain areas of our game. When camp starts, our version of a camp we continue training year round and when we have an opponent, we’ll try to focus our training on that specific opponent. We start to tailor our game to a particular opponent.” Johnson would like to fight sooner rather than later, but doesn’t have anyone in mind next for an opponent. In the meantime he’ll be refining his game at Spartan MMA and Fitness. “I made it out healthy, so I’d like to fight as soon as possible. It’s just a waiting game at this point to see what’s next. Like I said I’m back to training, my weight is good and I feel great. So whenever the next opponent pops up  I’ll be ready. [For my next opponent] a few guys that I’ve noticed around the South East. I don’t really particularly call anyone unless they’re in the UFC. That’s my ultimate goal. Anybody on the regional circuit all they have to do is say my name and give a call, I’ll be there. Sign a contract and I’ll be there. But as far as selecting the fight I leave that to my coach and manager take care of that. But I have my eye on everyone, there’s nobody that’s going to be brand new to me. We’re aiming October and November typically. I feel like I’m a decent sized lightweight, so I need a few weeks to cut weight. As far as camp and whatnot and opponent, October is a good time. I figure I get in October and possibly December before the year is out. That’s optimal timing right there.” While he waits for his next fight, Johnson will be indulging in his Fantasy Football league. With the NFL season right around the corner, Johnson takes the same approach to fantasy strategy as he does to game planning with his opponents. “I definitely get excited but I’m not as into football as I used to be. I’m definitely a fantasy football guy. I have to redeem myself from last year. I did well last year but one of my friends, his wife always beats me, it’s one of the most frustrating things ever. But I’m going to try to redeem myself this year. My draft board is ready to go, I have at least three options for every position based off the round. I always try to keep a sleeper in the draft [too] I would tell you but I don’t want to give out my draft tips.” You can follow Omar on Twitter @O_Johnson251  and you can listen to the full audio version of the interview on an “Extra” edition of The Parting Shot Podcast (31 mins in) 

Written by James Lynch

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