While the novel coronavirus shut down MMA and derailed the plans of many fighters, for bantamweight Jose Johnson things were not as difficult for him to adjust to as it had been for others.
Anticipating he would lose several months of his year, Johnson was able to use his downtime in a productive manner rather than be frustrated by it.
“(The coronavirus pandemic) was very unexpected for sure, but I kind of knew we were going to be waiting until around this time to fight anyway,” Johnson told MMAWeekly.com.
“We knew the Contender Series was going to start this summer, so I wasn’t really worried about it. At that point, it was just making sure I was staying in shape and being prepared for whatever; a call to the UFC or Contender Series or whatever. I was prepared for the wait time.”
While he wasn’t able to train in as full of an environment as he had prior to lockdown, Johnson made the most of what he had available to him.
“The first couple months it was different to adjust to, especially with not having training partners available that I normally would have,” said Johnson.
“My coaches have always been really faithful. So as far as my coaches being there and getting personal time with them didn’t change; the only thing that changed with the limitations of sparring partners or training partners.”
On Tuesday in Las Vegas, Johnson (11-5) will get his shot at a UFC contract when he faces Ronnie Lawrence (5-1) in a bantamweight bout at Dana White’s Contender Series 2020: Week 5.
“I think this guy is in trouble because he doesn’t know anything about me,” said Johnson of Lawrence. “I really hope he’s not going off my last fight because I was not able to demonstrate anything in my last fight (though he landed a crushing elbow knockout); I was very upset about that.
“I know I’m developing in training and am getting better, but in the fight I will really be able to see the differences my training has made.”
While Johnson knows what’s at state on September 1, his main focus is on defeating Lawrence, and then seeing what comes afterwards when it comes to pass.
“Honestly, I’ll just fight my fight and whatever happens, happens,” said Johnson.
“I understand that this is a big opportunity, and I’m thankful for it, I really am, but I knew it was coming and have been preparing for this for a very long time. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity, now they’ve given it to me, and they’re going to see.”
(Video courtesy of LFA)