After finding fights at a consistent rate over his first two years as a pro, welterweight up and comer Charlie Johnson hit a detour in 2018.
While Johnson has missed over a year of fighting due to an injury, he was able to use the time productively and feels like he took the best of a bad situation and made it work for him.
“I tore a ligament in my fight in November 2017 and that put me out for a while,” Johnson told MMAWeekly.com. “I opted for no surgery, and just rehab. I had to slow down for a little while and get myself healthy. It required me to stay patient and stay on top of it.
“It lead to good things. I’m in good health, and I’m strong and ready to go again. I had the opportunity to work on things that I wasn’t able to work on before when I was fighting so actively. I think it was beneficial overall.”
During his time off, Johnson looked to expand off his wrestling base and make the other aspects of his game just as solid.
“I’m trying to be a complete MMA fighter,” said Johnson. “I have no intention of being a specialist in one specific thing. I want to be able to dictate wherever the fight needs to go. I think I’ve gotten really good at that; whether it’s against the cage or on the ground or standing and striking; I’m really comfortable everywhere.
“I really surprise people when I fight how I know I’m going to fight. I’m going to look like a different fighter. I’m going to look more experienced. It’s not going to look like I took much time off.”
On Wednesday in Anchorage, Alaska, Johnson (6-1) will make his return to fighting when he faces Tyler Milner (8-5) in a 170-pound championship main event of Alaska FC 145.
“He’s a strong forward-pressure wrestler,” Johnson said of Milner. “I’ve noticed when he’s fighting he’s pressuring guys forward and making them fight off their back foot, but vice versa, I haven’t see a whole lot of success in reverse scenarios when he’s fighting off his back foot.
“I hit hard, and that changes a lot of guys’ game plans. I hit really hard. When I go out there and kind of establish that, I think it’s going to be my fight, and I just have to handle business. Whether it’s five minutes or 25 minutes, I’ve got to keep working, grid away, keep going and get the win.”
While getting an opportunity to move up to the next level in 2019 is a goal for Johnson, the most important thing for him is being able to use fighting as a sustainable way to support his family.
“I’m always taking it one fight at a time, but I have nothing but full attention to going to the next level,” said Johnson. “I’ll continue to do that so I can provide for my family and provide the best life for them as possible.
“This is very serious to me. I’m professional about this. I’ve got to make it happen. If I can get on the Contender Series, Bellator, ONE, the UFC, I’d be more than willing to go wherever my career takes me and whatever is the best opportunity for me to provide for my family.”