Johnny Walker’s key to victory against Anthony Smith: ‘I eat the Lionheart’
Johnny Walker hopes he gets a game Anthony Smith, or he predicts it’ll be a short night for him.
Walker (20-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC) meets former light heavyweight title challenger Smith in the main event of the UFC’s May 13 card. The Brazilian is enjoying a career resurgence after back-to-back first-round finishes of Ion Cutelaba and, most recently, a TKO of Paul Craig at UFC 283 in January.
He takes on Smith (36-17 MMA, 11-7 UFC), who recently broke his ankle in a TKO loss to Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 277 in July 2022. Smith proved he’s still a top contender with three wins prior to that, and Walker is looking forward to the challenge.
“He’s a pretty talented athlete, as well,” Walker told MMA Junkie. “He fought (Jon) Jones. He fought very high-level guys. I know he’s a complete fighter, but I think the key to the victory is I eat the ‘Lionheart.’
“Hopefully he brings the best version of himself because I’m going to bring the best that I can. I’m going to prepare for the best version of Anthony Smith. Hopefully he prepared good, as well, because if not, it’s going to be a first-round knockout, a first round finish. I want to fight more. I want to show everybody my game and show everybody how good I am, so hopefully he’s a tough fighter for me.”
Walker has gone the extra mile to prepare for the upcoming fight. He linked up with Smith’s former coach, Mick Doyle, in Omaha, Neb.
“We’re just training to beat Anthony,” Walker said. “In this game, you want to get into the top 10, top five, championship. It’s everything you can do to bring the victory because it’s more mind games now, and all of the little details, and everything you can add to bring that victory, I’m going to do my best to do.
“I feel improvements so I can land better elbows, (and) better control on the fence for takedowns as, well. Then I can have my hands more active for punching, for attacks – a lot of smart moves so I can be more offensive.”