Johnny Walker has plenty of explosive knockouts on his resume, but the circumstances that led to his finish over Paul Craig at UFC 283 looked anything but routine.
As Craig tried to grab a leg, Walker extended his reach and threw a big punch at the Scottish light-heavyweight. This ended the fight. The fact that Walker was teetering on one leg yet still managed to generate enough power to actually hurt Craig appeared almost miraculous, but it turns out that’s not exactly the case.
This is because Walker trains in the exact same position every day during his training at SBG Ireland.
“Actually part of our pretty much daily warmup, all of my fighters are tired of it at this stage, we do 30 seconds balance on each leg,” Walker’s head coach John Kavanagh said on The MMA Hour.
A guy holds your leg and you try to mimic the throwing of shots by using one leg. This is part of .”
our everyday warmup.
It was an amazing display of power and balance as Walker delivered his blow. The referee then stopped the fight.
Swinging at the fences while in this position can be a problem, as Kavanagh recalls from a match involving one his fighters who was competing in Bellator MMA.
“One of my guys, Frans Mlambo, he’s a very, very talented fighter — he fought Ricky Bandejas in Dublin and he made the mistake of catching the leg and holding onto it a little bit too long,” Kavanagh explained. Frans Mlambo was knocked out by Ricky Bandejas.
“Frans Mlambo is an exceptional striker. He was one of Conor [McGregor]’s main sparring partners for the [Floyd] Mayweather fight, just to give an idea that he’s [got] really, really high-level boxing and kickboxing.”
Overall Kavanagh believes in practicing this position as it is so common in fighting and wants to teach his athletes how to use balance as a weapon. This is why it has become an integral part of training sessions.
“You know when you’re holding someone’s leg, somewhat the other way of looking at it is, your leg is holding both of their arms and you’re not in a position where you can kind of chill and try to get a takedown because you’re very open,” Kavanagh said. “That is actually part of the daily warmup, is that comfortableness of being able to move around on one leg.
” You can put this with somebody who is just an extraordinary athlete. Johnny could have been an NFL receiver or a player in basketball, but that’s another life. But he has that, and he’s more than just an athlete. He’s also a fighter .”
Kavanagh says since Walker came to Ireland and joined his team that they’ve become like family with the Brazilian regularly staying at his house while also marrying an Irish bride.
The partnership has really started to bear fruit in the cage as well with Walker now sitting on a two-fight win streak following his knockout over Craig.
Kavanagh believes this is just the start of a much longer win streak, with Walker eventually becoming a serious contender at light heavyweight — and perhaps even heavyweight one day in the future.
“He was a unique human being, but he had some fundamentals of fighting that allowed him to sometimes do things normal people couldn’t.” Kavanagh stated. My gym is more known for bantamweight than welterweight. But suddenly, I found this huge guy who will undoubtedly end his career at heavyweight. Just tidying up some of those fundamentals in all of the areas of mixed martial arts.
” I feel we have tightened up many things. He’s definitely on the path to a world title. Just glad to play a small part in that.”