Rising light heavyweight contender Johnny Walker is beginning to turn heads around the MMA community and reigning UFC champion Jon Jones is one of them.
Walker, who decimated light heavyweight veteran Misha Cirkunov in just 36 seconds last weekend at UFC 235 (highlights here), has already turned in some of the best knockout finishes you’ll ever see at 205 pounds. Outside of his memorable stoppage of Cirkunov, the Brazilian holds a debut knockout finish over Khalil Rountree and a 15-second destruction of Justin Ledet.
With such success so early into his UFC career Walker has already been revered as the next big contender at 205 pounds. In a division that has been left barren at the hands of Jones, having a young and flashy fighter like Walker goes a really long way.
Just ask Jones himself, who discussed Walker’s recent victory at UFC 235.
“Johnny Walker is somebody that I’m very aware of,” said Jones (via The Mac Life). “I know I’m gonna be fighting him sooner or later.
“And I just appreciate his energy,” Jones added. “He seems like a nice guy. He just radiates his happiness and his positivity, and it’s refreshing. He seems like the type of guy I’d go out and have a beer with. He’s cool. He seems cool… until we fight. And then after I beat him, he’ll be cool again.”
Jones, who knocked off Anthony Smith via unanimous decision to retain his light heavyweight strap at UFC 235, is short on contenders at 205 pounds. Streaking Brazilian veteran Thiago Santos is the next obvious choice for “Bones,” but there are limited options beyond that.
If Walker gets his wish and he’s able to land a matchup with three-time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson sometime in 2019, that may be the win he needs to lock down a shot at Jones.
Of course, Walker has to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself with anymore post-fight celebrations if he wants to make a serious run at the light heavyweight throne.