EXCLUSIVE | Khalil Rountree details the unique challenges of fighting Johnny Walker

Khalil Rountree, Johnny Walker
Image: @ufc on Instagram

Johnny Walker has been on a roll. Since his first UFC fight back in November, the massive Brazilian has earned three wins, all by first-round knockout. His total Octagon time is at just 2:48.

There is no question that Walker posses a unique skillset that not many light heavyweight have, or can figure out.

Speaking to BJPENN.com, his first UFC opponent in Khalil Rountree explained just how difficult it was to fight Walker.

“You know, when I fought Walker, he is actually a big guy,” Rountree said. “You can see it on camera, but when I was standing in front of him in the cage that is when you can really feel the guy’s size. He is really tall, but his gift is that he is very athletic and he knows how to use his body. It is not common you see a guy that size who can do flips and things like that. To be that big and that athletic it is a dangerous thing. I have sparred guys who are tall, like [UFC heavyweight] Alexander Volkov, he is not like Johnny Walker athletic. He is good but Walker is different. It was pretty awkward man.”

Not only was it hard to figure Walker out, but after rewatching the footage of the loss, Rountree made some big changes. He decided to go to Thailand to really fine-tune his game.

“So, after the Johnny Walker fight, I reviewed some tape and just wanted to check out what I was doing wrong, technically. After that loss it was pretty tough,” Rountree explained. “I watched it now and noticed that when he got me in the clinch, it shut me down. It reminded me like damn, I didn’t know much about the clinch. What better place to go then to Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand.”

While he was away in Thailand, Khalil Rountree saw Walker have two more fights and two more first-round knockouts. He saw the quick 15-second knockout of Justin Ledet and then the 36-second knockout of Misha Cirkunov. Rountree was not surprised by either fight.

“I wouldn’t say I am surprised,” he said. “When I look at the fights and the guys he is putting away and how quickly he is putting them away, it is kind of like confirmation to myself like it is not just me. Everybody that has gone against him has been knocked out. It seems like his size shuts guys down. Even the Cirkunov fight, like he is a beast, but I can tell that just looking at him he can’t really figure it out. It was more confirmation to some of the feelings that I have. So not surprised, that guy is a beast man.”

Khalil Rountree is getting back in the Octagon at UFC 236, where he will take on Eryk Anders. It will be his first fight since the Walker loss. As for Walker, he is currently rehabbing his shoulder after dislocating it celebrating his win over Cirkunov.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/5/2019