Tim Johnson “excited” to get Cheick Kongo rematch after “fluky” first fight, believes win earns him title shot

Tim Johnson
Image Credit: Bellator MMA

Tim Johnson will finally get the rematch with Cheick Kongo he has been calling for.

In Johnson’s Bellator debut, he fought Kongo and lost by TKO in just 68 seconds. Yet, Johnson wasn’t happy with the stoppage and wanted the rematch ever since and at Bellator 248 he will get his wish. He will also fight on the first major MMA event in France since the sport was legalized.

“The first one was just fluky would be the best word for it,” Johnson said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “It wasn’t a knockout, I was aware and just fell over and held onto his leg and the ref stopped it. That was two years ago almost to the day, I think I’m a 100 percent a different fighter.

“I was pretty excited about it. Originally I thought it would be September 11, so I’ve been going strong since June 30,” he later added. “I was happy with the rematch. Talking about getting a rematch is not a vendetta about Cheick it was just a s**t fight from me. I can handle losing but not like that.”

Although Johnson is a wrestler, he knows he can’t force the takedown as he did in the first fight. Instead, he is prepared to strike with Kongo to set up his wrestling.

“You have to strike with him,” Johnson explained. “The problem in the first fight is that I wasn’t ready to get hit and rushed in for a single leg that wasn’t there. Rewatching the fight, it looked like I was throwing half speed.”

Entering the fight, Tim Johnson knows he has the skillset to beat Cheick Kongo and is confident he will get his hand raised and make it three in a row. He also believes a win over the Frenchman will earn him a shot at Bellator gold in 2021.

“I got to be right there. If I get a win here, why not? Cheick fought for the title in his last fight, I beat Matt Mitrione, I think that would be enough but who knows. It is a strange sport, strange world,” Johnson concluded.

Do you think Tim Johnson will beat Cheick Kongo in the rematch?