Walker Parts Way With/Blames Coach
Following his first loss inside the Octagon coming in an emphatic fashion, Johnny Walker has made some changes following UFC 244.
“I don’t have a coach now,” Walker told MMA Fighting admitting he parted ways with longtime coach Leo Gosling. “I’m looking for a better one to work with me. New life.”
“We spent a long time together, he lived with me in Thailand, but sometimes lacked respect between us,” Walker said of a “stressful” end of their working relationship. “I don’t know. I just know it couldn’t continue. We had big situations on fight week. We almost fought each other before the fight because of small things.
“There were other things, too. The gym in Thailand, he was working on things there, but didn’t get a contract done. I spent $30,000 and there’s nothing in the gym. I ended up losing that money. Many things happened, so I decided to stop working with him otherwise I wouldn’t get anywhere, I would keep losing. I don’t want to lose, I want to win.”
If Walker gained a win at UFC 244 last fall he could have landed the next shot at UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, especially with Walker riding a nine-fight winning streak into Madison Square Garden.“Imagine going to war and not being happy with who’s with you,” Walker said. “You don’t know if you can count on him, if you can get shot in the back, you know? It’s complicated.
“It doesn’t matter how hard you trained, how physically prepared you are, if you have something blocking your mind, a personal issue that doesn’t let you be creative and stresses you on fight week, you don’t have good performance. Fighting is 100 percent mental. Everybody trains hard. If your head isn’t good on fight day, you lose to someone that isn’t that good or someone you were confident you’d beat. Your mind has to be bulletproof, 100 percent focused.”
Much like a college student in their first semester, Walker is now shopping around in different facilities, working out of the UFC’s Performance Center and currently looking to learn under Firas Zahabi, who leads GSP’s Tristar Gym.
“I want to move to Las Vegas after my next fight and maybe I’ll do my next camps at Tristar,” he said. “If I like it, I’ll stay there with him. If I don’t like it, I’ll go to (SBG with) John Kavanagh in Ireland. I’ve trained with him before, and now I’ll see how things go with Firas. I have two great coaches who want to work with me, so I’ll see which one is better for me.”
“I think his styles makes it a good fight for me,” Walker said. of his March 14th opponent Nikita Krylov. “I’m ready. I like his fighting style and I’m sure my game plan will be great to beat him and go back to the top. God willing, I’ll beat up everyone and get a title shot by the end of the year or early next year. I have to, I need that belt.”