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Charles Johnson got past dark moments that came with skid, now wants Joshua Van in an arena

LAS VEGAS – Charles Johnson beat Azat Maksum with a unanimous decision Saturday on the preliminary card at UFC Fight Night 235 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Take a look inside the fight with Johnson, who snapped a three-fight skid of decision losses from 2023.

Charles Johnson vs. Azat Maksum

Result: Charles Johnson def. Azat Maksum via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Updated records: Johnson (14-6 MMA, 3-4 UFC), Maksum (17-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC)
Key stats: Maksum landed less than 25 percent of his total strikes, but Johnson’s accuracy was around 55 percent.

Johnson on the fight's key moment

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 03: (L-R) Charles Johnson punches Azat Maksum of Kazakstan in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 03, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 03: (L-R) Charles Johnson punches Azat Maksum of Kazakstan in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 03, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“He had a little bit more pop on his punches. He was a little stronger than I thought he would be with his hands. He caught me coming in early, but other than that, nothing else was a surprise. I watched a lot of film, and everything that I worked on, I implemented in the fight, whether it was inside, outside, leg kicks, keeping outside his hip, making sure he wasn’t able to land at the end of his punches.”

Johnson on bringing his daughter to his post-fight

Charles Johnson and daughter
Charles Johnson and daughter

“It’s a little surreal right now. I’ve been waiting for this moment for about four fights, just to talk to y’all again. I’m feeling great. It was a great fight. This is my baby. Y’all finally get to see ‘Baby G.’ A year ago, I announced I was going to be having a baby girl, and here we are. It’s a full-circle moment for me. I always dreamed of this moment. I could cry. I worked really hard for this win tonight and this moment (being on stage holding my daughter during my press conference), and it was a lot of times during camp where I just had to remind myself that I wanted to feel this right now and that I hold it to myself.

“I work extremely hard and, sometimes it’s difficult. Fights don’t go your way. … My father always used to say, when I was coming up running track, everything happened for a reason. I am a firm believer, and everything happens for a reason. Not to say that I needed to lose, but it definitely strengthened my resolve even more – even more. I’ve always been a person to come back from adversity and works hard. I definitely feel like everything happens for a reason.”

Johnson on what he wants next

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 13: (L-R) Joshua Van of Myanmar punches Felipe Bunes of Brazil in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on January 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 13: (L-R) Joshua Van of Myanmar punches Felipe Bunes of Brazil in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on January 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“I’ll be good in about five, six weeks to fight again. I want to get in the arena. I’m not going to rush it, but I really want to (fight at) UFC 300. Give me Joshua Van or anybody that want to squabble and throw some hands with me. I’m tired of fighting at the (UFC) Apex against guys that just want to wrestle and hold on to me. I just want to get in an arena. I want to get in front of the fans, get the full UFC experience. I truly love this promotion. I love fighting for the UFC. It’s always been a dream.

“I’m not attacking him. It’s just, I like how he fights. I really like him as a fighter and I like the way he fights, and these guys keep folding in front of him. He needs a challenge, and I think we would put on a great show for the fans. It’s that simple. This is a business, it’s a promotion, but it’s also entertainment, and I think we would put on a great f*cking fight. That’s the only reason why I say him, because I know he’s going to bring it and I really like him. He’s a young guy. I like his mentality. I see him moving. But it can be anybody like that. It’s not specifically him, but that’s the first person that came to mind because I’ve really been appreciating his work in there and what he’s been doing.”

To hear more from Johnson, check out the video of the full post-fight interview above.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 235.

UFC Fight Night 235

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie