‣ James Johnson has been playing in the NBA since the 2009/10 season and is currently part of the Pacers roster.
‣ Johnson expressed his interest in pursuing a career as a professional fighter and believes he could beat Jon Jones, one of the best fighters in UFC history, with a year of preparation.
‣ Johnson acknowledged his strengths and weaknesses in the context of a potential fight against Jones, emphasizing the need to improve his ground defense.
James Johnson, a 36-year-old NBA player for the Pacers, recently expressed his interest in pursuing a career as a fighter after his basketball days are over. In an appearance on the “NBA Rookie Life with Ryan Hollins” podcast, Johnson revealed his love for martial arts and his desire to compete professionally in the fighting world. He mentioned that he has been training and enjoying martial arts since childhood and would take fighting very seriously.
Despite only averaging 2.8 points and 1.7 rebounds per game in the past NBA season, Johnson seemed more passionate about fighting than basketball. He openly praised Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, an acclaimed UFC fighter, and spoke highly of his skills and technique. Johnson admitted that facing Jones in the octagon would be a tough challenge but believed that he could beat him with a year of training, particularly in ground defense.
Johnson went into detail about his own fighting style, emphasizing his preference for close combat and generating power from up close. He acknowledged that his standup game is strong but recognized that he would need to work on countering Jones’ wrestling abilities. Johnson is aware of his strengths and weaknesses and is committed to improving his ground defense to match up against the seasoned UFC fighter.
Reflecting on his chances against Jones, Johnson noted the difference in their lifelong training backgrounds. While he has been punching and kicking since childhood, Jones has focused on wrestling for years. Despite this disadvantage, Johnson remains confident that with dedicated training, he could potentially defeat Jones in a fight.
Overall, James Johnson’s interview on the podcast showcased his passion for martial arts and his ambition to pursue a career in fighting. Despite his modest stats in basketball, Johnson’s determination and belief in his abilities make him an intriguing candidate for the world of professional fighting. Only time will tell if he will be able to transition successfully from the NBA to the UFC.