Johnny Walker

Brazil

Targeting November return at MSG
Light HeavyweightUFC
August 5, 2019
Walker (shoulder) is in line to face Corey Anderson in a light heavyweight matchup at UFC 244 on Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Walker began his UFC tenure red-hot, collecting three consecutive first-round finishes to immediately catch the eyes of UFC brass. It's officially time for a step up in competition, and it appears that will come in the form of Anderson -- a veteran at 205 that has compiled three consecutive wins of his own (all via decision). Walker will have height and reach advantages on fight night, plus owns slight edges in both striking volume and striking accuracy over a short sample size. Anderson has a major wrestling edge on paper with a 4.96 takedown average (per 15 minutes), though Walker has yet to be taken down in the UFC. Walker does own a brown belt in BJJ, though his true prowess on the ground is a mystery to UFC fans. He has two submission wins on his resume, but each was earned well prior to his time under the UFC banner.
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Conflicting reports on medical clearance
Light HeavyweightUFC
June 18, 2019
Dana White indicated Tuesday that Walker (shoulder) hasn't been medically cleared, Aaron Bronsteter of TSN.ca reports.
ANALYSIS
Walker is aiming to return to the cage in September and his manager relayed earlier in June that he had gained medical clearance. However, White and the promotion's doctors likely make the final call and it appears Walker still has some hurdles to clear. He has plenty of time remaining to gain the needed approval ahead of time, so there shouldn't be too much to be concerned about at this point.
Hopeful for September return
Light HeavyweightUFC
June 4, 2019
Walker (shoulder) has been medically cleared to return to action according to his manager Lucas Lutkus, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Walker is targeting a return in the month of September and correctly believes he merits a ranked opponent this time out. He broke into the UFC rankings with a 36-second KO victory over Misha Cirkunov in March, but injured the shoulder during the celebration to derail the momentum built by a three-fight winning streak. An already-shallow light heavyweight division took yet another depth hit this week with the retirements of Alexander Gustafsson and Jimi Manuwa, so potential opponents for Walker are dwindling. His manager mentioned names such as Glover Teixeira, Dominick Rayes and Aleksander Rakic, but clarified that Walker "loves every possibility of matchup." Walker has the look of a fighter that could be competing for a belt in 2020, but likely needs to string together another win or two before the promotion will feed him to champion Jon Jones.
Goes into further detail on shoulder injury
Light HeavyweightUFC
May 14, 2019
Walker revealed recently that he underwent surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder roughly two months ago, Steven Marrocco and Fernanda Prates of MMAJunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Walker hopes to make his return to the Octagon within two or three months, but he's scheduled to see a doctor this week, which should help determine whether or not that return timeline is attainable. The shoulder injury was a bit more serious than Walker originally led on, as the procedure required an implanted screw, among other treatments, in order to properly heal. Walker took the UFC by storm after starting his career with three consecutive first-round stoppage victories, but it all came to a grinding halt when he suffered the injury in a celebration after his March victory over Misha Cirkunov. While that victory finally landed him a spot in the light heavyweight rankings, Walker seems unlikely to get the fight against Jon Jones that he's been asking for in the immediate future. If the Brazilian can come back out and show he's healthy against a top-10 opponent, that conversation could take a turn pretty quickly, as Jones has stated in the past that he wants to remain as active as possible in 2019. Jones is currently scheduled to defend his title against Thiago Santos during International Fight Week 2019.
MRI shows mild shoulder injury
Light HeavyweightUFC
March 4, 2019
Walker underwent an MRI on his shoulder, which showed a minor shoulder injury that will require four weeks of rehab, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Walker made quick work of his opponent Saturday, knocking out Misha Cirkunov in 36 seconds. The injury occurred during his post-fight celebration, however it appears he dodged a bullet and the injury isn't anything serious as he's shooting for a return in May or June.
Meet the UFC's newest superstar
Light HeavyweightUFC
March 2, 2019
Walker defeated Misha Cirkunov via TKO (strikes) at 0:36 of Round 1 at UFC 235 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
The term "future champion" gets thrown around a lot these days, but Walker has the look of a legitimate superstar. If knocking out Cirkunov in 36 seconds with a perfectly placed knee and subsequent strikes weren't enough, he believes he separated his shoulder during his post-fight celebration. How can you not love this guy? Walker now has three knockout wins to begin his UFC career in a span of less than four months. This feels like a situation in which the company has to immediately try to cash in on Walker's quick start. Don't be the least bit surprised if the UFC pushes Walker to the front of the line for his next bout. Think names like Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.