UFC heavyweight Lavar “Big” Johnson joined MMA Fight Corner on Tuesday night and is prepared to hand Brendan Schaub his third consecutive loss in their upcoming bout on UFC on FOX 5 on December 8. The heavyweight showdown takes place as part of the FX preliminary card and Johnson’s ready to put on a show the fans want to see.
On FUEL TV’s UFC Tonight, former Ultimate Fighter competitor and NFL player, Schaub, called out Johnson for the upcoming fight. In the interview he said:
“I think it’s good to control your own destiny. I just throw a name out there. He’s had three fights in the UFC and two Knockouts of the Nights. His sole loss is to Struve. I think people are scared of him. I think it’d be a good fight. Lavar hits hard. For me, yeah people say I have a weak chin, so this would solidify my place. But I fight at heavyweight. Everyone hits hard.”
At 8-3 overall with back to back losses, whether or not it was a wise decision on Schaub’s part to do so, has yet to be seen.
“We’ll find out. I don’t really bark, I just bite,” Johnson said. “I let those guys make their own bed and they gotta lay in it. I never met Schaub before and it was kind of weird for me. I think Dana and Joe Silva do a pretty good job of matching everybody up, so I don’t know why he needed to call me out.”
Lavar isn’t taking Schaub’s campaign to fight him personally. In fact, he thinks the matchup will be action packed. “He’s a banger. I think he could dish it out, he just can’t take it. I’m excited.”
With a record of 17-6 overall in MMA, Johnson’s powerful right hand has played a big role in earning him 16 KO’s. Always known to bring the pain, Lavar has also never gone the distance in any of his fights. In fact, 15 of his wins have come within the first round of his fights. He’s chalking up Schaub’s challenge to him as him looking to prove something.
“I think he wants to show that he can bang. So, I think he’s going to try it at first. When I think I hit em, then he’s definitely going to shoot, if he’s still awake.”
Johnson continued, “I’m looking at a lot of his fights, he’s not even getting hit in the chin, he’s just getting hit somewhere on the head and his body just shuts down. You know, I’m just gonna walk him down and let em go.”
While all of Johnson’s losses have all been by way of submission, he insisted that he won’t be trying out any new strategies inside the Octagon. Normally, Johnson trains with the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, CA. But for this fight, Johnson’s primarily trained with Josh Koscheck and Daniel Cormier at Dethrone Fresno, Koscheck’s new gym in California.
Regardless of any switch up with his camp, Johnson insisted he hasn’t made the change because he’s trying out a new bag of tricks. Instead, he’s sticking to what he knows, using his massive strength and ruthless hands that got him in the UFC in the first place to win his fights.
“I’m not worried about the title or anything like that. I’m just worried about winning, and winning by making it exciting, exciting fights. I’m not going to submit anybody. I’m training jiu jitsu and my wrestling to be the complete fighter so I can keep the fight up and do what the fans like. We’re heavyweights. Nobody wants to see heavyweights rolling around on the ground and trying to grab each other’s ankles and twist them and stuff like that. They want to see someone get put to sleep.
“That’s my job. I’m a street fighter, that’s what they expected from me and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to do my best to keep the fight standing, do my best to get up and let my hands go.”
A former Strikeforce and WEC fighter, Lavar’s known for his striking. He came into the UFC last year and already holds a record of 2-1 with Konckout of the Night honors with the promotion. Though he was submitted inside the first round by Stefan Struve in his last fight, Johnson had also taken the fight on short notice. After Mark Hunt suffered an injury, Lavar stepped up to fight at UFC 146 against Struve on only 3 weeks notice.
Despite taking that fight on short notice, Johnson said he’d do it again if he was ever called upon to do so. “That’s my job, I’m a fighter and when they call you to fight, that’s what you do, that’s how we get paid. So if I’m healthy, then there’s no reason why I shouldn’t fight.”
Unlike some who’ve made UFC President Dana White upset lately for turning fights and opportunities, Johnson said he’s grateful for what the UFC’s given him where his career’s concerned. “The UFC, I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done, they’ve changed my life all around.”
Having fought professionally for seven years with 23 pro fights to his name, Johnson was very honest about how much longer he sees himself in the fight game.
“I figure about two more years. I figure realistically everything hurts. I’m 35 years old now. The funny thing is I’m getting bigger and I’m getting faster, my hands are faster. I don’t know, go figure. I’m training smarter not harder. But, there’s only about so much wear and tear your body can take. So I figure about two more years.”
UFC on FOX 5 takes place on December 8 in Seattle’s Key Arena and is headlined by a lightweight championship fight between Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz. The preliminary card featuring Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson will air on FX starting at 5pm ET/2pm PT.