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Brett Johns Discusses His UFC Fight Night 128 Bout With Aljamain Sterling

February 18, 2018 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Brett Johns

Brett Johns recently spoke to reporters in a media scrum (via MMAjunkie) ahead of his upcoming UFC Fight Night 128 bout with Aljamain Sterling, which is set for April 21. Below are some highlights from the scrum.

Johns on when he first started training judo: “I was a bit of a crybaby when I first started judo, and my dad would always tell me that. He kind of thought that if I was like that in judo, what was I going to do when I got punched in the face? But he was just one of lots of people. The first time I told him I wanted to be a professional mixed martial artist – or, as it was known, a cagefighter – he just laughed at me. He said, ‘Look, boy, it’s not for you.’ People know I’m not an aggressive person and usually pretty quiet. I was brought up around the judo game, which is all about respect and discipline, so it was seen as a big thing for me to go into this sport.”

Johns on pulling off a calf slicer submission hold: “It was a move I pulled off once or twice in the gym, but trust me, it wasn’t planned. What I had practiced a lot for with Joe was the head-outside, single-leg takedown. I actually thought there was three or four minutes gone and I had caught Joe in some sort of armbar, but then I looked up, and it was 30 seconds in and a calf-slicer. It was surreal. People were going nuts afterward. It was just my third UFC fight, and now people are talking about me like I’m some sort of wrecking machine, which is nice. But like I said, people can expect a lot more from me in 2018. Just like getting into the UFC, pulling off that calf-slicer changed my life. Now that we’re in the top 15, I don’t want that momentum to stop, so I’ve set myself little goals, like moving into the top 10.”

Johns on facing Sterling: “It was what I wanted. Aljamain was the best option after the last fight, and I do think there were easier options in the top 15, but Aljamain seemed like the right name. It doesn’t really matter because they all terrify me in that top 15, so it could be No. 1 or 15. Yes, he’s lost three of his last five fights, but in my opinion, they are all top-10-in-the-world guys, so I don’t take those losses into consideration. I’m always motivated for a fight, but with Aljamain, it’s somehow picked up a gear. I’m looking forward to being in there with him. I don’t see it going like the last time, with a quick finish, but I do see it being a really good fight.”

Brett Johns on why he wanted to get into MMA: “At school, I used to go to the library, and watch Brad Pickett fights on YouTube, and I’d tell my friends that’s what I was going to do, and they’d be like, ‘OK. Whatever, Brett.’ So, I was Brett Johns, the crazy guy who wanted to be in the UFC. There was also (former undefeated Welsh world boxing champion) Joe Calzaghe. The one that sticks out for me is the Mikkel Kessler fight at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff because that’s how I saw my career ending up. I always wanted to follow the same path as Joe did. He did Vegas, and then I did Vegas. He went to Madison Square Garden, and I definitely see myself doing that down the line. For the time being, I’ll make do with New Jersey and Boardwalk Hall.”