"Ankalaev Will Pay For Everything He Said About Me". Walker Talks About UFC Debut Of His Brother And Helping McGregor

Marina Magomedova
10 Jan 2024

On the night of January 14 at UFC Vegas 84, Brazilian light heavyweight Johnny Walker will fight Russian Magomed Ankalaev for the second time. Their first meeting in October 2023 at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi was ruled a no contest due to a banned knee to the head by Ankalaev.

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Johnny Walker
Johnny Walker

In an exclusive interview with Telecomasia.net, Walker explained:

  • why he believes Ankalaev hit him in the head with a knee on purpose;
  • how he wants to celebrate his victory over the Russian fighter;
  • why he decided to let his brother train in Russia;
  • what impressions he had of life and training in Russia;
  • why he decided to move to Ireland;
  • how he can help Conor McGregor get back into the octagon.

- Your opponent, Magomed Ankalaev said that you didn't want to face him in the octagon and that's why you would never fight on the street. What can you say to that?

- I am ready to fight him in the octagon on January 14. I'm ready to demand answers for what he said in the octagon. He'll pay for what he said because I'll beat him.

- Why do you think his knee strike was not accidental?

You're a professional fighter, man. You never do anything by accident. Everything you try to land is intentional. Your knee isn't going to fly to a place you don't want it to. You're in complete control of your body. He's a very experienced fighter, and he understood what he was doing.

– What changes in training did you make after the first fight?

– I practiced wrestling and takedown defense more. I trained using the cage more and sparred more. I had better training overall. I'm twice as good now as I was back then. I'm going to achieve my goal.

– Why did you eat Ankalaev's portrait before the fight and what do you want to do if you win?

– I'm going to have a party and I'm ready to invite everyone. If Magomed wants to come to my party and celebrate with me, he is invited. Let's have some fun, have a few drinks and eat. I'd like to have some barbecued meat, it's great.

Johnny Walker
Johnny Walker
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– Dana White said that if Ankalaev scores a confident victory, he can get a title fight. What do you expect to get if you defeat him?

– When I beat him, I also intend to get a title fight.

– What do you think about the upcoming debut of your brother Valter in the UFC? Is he ready for a new level of opposition?

– He's ready. He's my brother, and he's ready on a genetic level. He's ready to smash, and I'm going to be there for him. I plan to come to Russia, help him in the training camp, and he is ready to do a good job. I wish him good luck and success.

– How did he decide to move to Russia, train there constantly and perform in local promotions? Did you support his choice?

– Absolutely. I left him in Russia because I trust my friend Gor Azizyan, whom I met there. He looks after my brother very well. I left my brother with Gor because he made him a good fighter. It was the best decision I could have made - now he has reached a good level and signed a contract with the UFC.

The Walker brothers and Gor Azizyan
The Walker brothers and Gor Azizyan
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– What was it like to stay in Russia, train with Gor? How was your training organized?

I am a big fan of Russian MMA. I like all their events, everything is managed well. I spent a lot of time in a training camp in Russia. Russia helped me improve my wrestling and takedown defense, as well as my striking technique. There are very strong fighters in Russia, and I like to train, so I liked practicing with them. Gor MMA is a really good gym, the best gym in Russia in my opinion, and the only one I went to there. Gor is a good guy. Now he takes care of my brother and he is still my friend. Gor MMA is the best gym.

– Are you thinking of returning to Russia to prepare for future fights?

– I can do it. Gor is my friend, and I can go back there anytime I want. He can also come to Ireland because we have a good relationship.

– Why did you choose moving to Ireland and training with John Kavanagh?

– Because John Kavanagh is the best coach in the world, and Ireland is my home now. I married an Irish girl and now I am a happily married man. Besides, training here works. Now I have a series of several consecutive victories, and I am ready to show that my Irish coach and the Irish MMA school will help me beat this Russian guy.

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– And what do you think about the return of Conor McGregor, who announced his middleweight bout against Michael Chandler?

– I'm looking forward to Conor McGregor's return to fighting. He's one of my teammates. If he needs a sparring partner, I am always ready to help. He could use my help when preparing for a fight at 84 kg. He's going to need tough guys, I'm one of such guys and I'm ready to help him. Everyone is now eagerly waiting for his return to the octagon.

– What do you think about the new light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira? Will he be able to keep his belt for several years?

– I hope that he will be able to defend it and keep this title for me.

Johnny Walker
Johnny Walker

– You also spent several months in Scotland at the time. Does your popularity there have anything to do with having the same name as the famous Scotch whisky?

– Yes, the first country I went to after I left Brazil was Scotland. I spent six or eight months there, lived there and trained there. It was very difficult. I had a hard time because I didn't have money then and I didn't speak English well. But the experience I got there made me stronger.

– Will your fight with Magomed Ankalaev go the whole distance or will one of you finish it earlier?

– I'm determined to finish, I'm going to knock him out, but if it comes to scoring, I'll win without a doubt, because I intend to hit him more, get more takedowns and submission attempts. I am ready to surpass him in everything. I will show everything I am capable of to finish this fight early.

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