Paul Craig envisions finishing Johnny Walker with strikes at UFC 283: ‘I believe in my standup’

Paul Craig wants to prove he’s more than just a submission specialist against Johnny Walker.

Craig (16-5-1 MMA, 8-5-1 UFC) meets Walker (19-7 MMA, 5-4 UFC) on Jan. 21 at UFC 283 from Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ABC and ESPN+.

Craig has used his slick submission skills to tap out the likes of former title challenger Magomed Ankalaev and top contender Nikita Krylov, but that’s not his preferred path to victory against Walker. Although it’s Walker who possesses the proven knockout power, Craig thinks he can beat him at his own game.

“My submissions speak for itself,” Craig told Fanatics View. “I’ve got some of the most submissions in light heavyweight. I think I’m up there with the most triangles in the division, as well, so I’ve got all these submission records.”

He continued, “I believe in this fight. I can end it anywhere. I believe in my standup. I’ve got this newfound love for standup and this newfound experience that I’ve never had before, and the way I’ve been taught recently has opened up a new door. What I believe is going to happen is this fight’s going to end via strikes. I just believe in myself, and I believe in my standup, and I believe my right hand has got power.”

Four of Walker’s seven losses have come by knockout, and Craig thinks it’s the Brazilian that will resort to grappling in this fight.

“Once Walker feels how strong I am, I think he might find that he’s going to actually try and shoot,” Craig said. “I think when he feels the power in my hands and my legs then he’s gonna be blown away as most people are. I went three rounds with Ankalaev, and he switched up his stance, felt the power in my kicks and the power in my hands, and I don’t think Johnny Walker is ready for what I’ve got. I always had the power in there, and I always had the skill in my kicks and my punches. I just never had the confidence. I think that’s what changed over the last six months – confidence in my abilities.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 283.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie