Tim Johnson believes he has a clear path to victory against Matt Mitrione.
Johnson will be making his fourth appearance in Bellator to battle the always dangerous Mitrione in the co-main event of Bellator 243 on Friday. Although this is a big fight for Johnson, he didn’t get much notice for it.
“About three weeks ago I found out about the fight. I was talking to my agent and I got rumors that Bellator would pick up again,” Johnson said to BJPENN.com. “I was in Minnesota when everything shut down and working there in the fields. So, my agent said I should get back to Vegas and start a camp because he said I should be fighting in August.”
Although Johnson didn’t get much notice, he still is eager to get back in the cage. Last time out, the UFC veteran picked up his first Bellator win. There, he scored a KO victory over Tyrell Fortune where he was labeled a major underdog. For the 35-year-old, to get his first win in the promotion was a huge relief.
“Just getting the win was massive. People were quick to write me off and look at the two guys I lost too. Kongo fought for the belt and Minakov I took on like 12 hours notice,” he explained.
Now, against Mitrione, Johnson knows this is a winnable fight for him. When he also signed with Bellator back in 2018, Mitrione was a guy he had his eye on.
“When I signed with Bellator, it was for financial reasons. But, on top of that, I want to do things here and not be the middle of the pack,” he said. “To do that, I need to beat a guy like Mitrione. Hopefully this time, I don’t piss it down my leg as I did with Cheick.”
Even though Mitrione is just 0-2 with a no-contest in his last three fights, Johnson knows Mitrione is always dangerous.
Yet, for Tim Johnson, he is confident in his skill set and his wrestling ability to get his hand raised and do so by stoppage.
“I don’t see it lasting very long. The book is pretty short on Matt. He has heavy hands and lights move pretty light for a heavyweight. But, I have to slow it down and get it to a good position and get inside on him,” Johnson explained. “My wrestling will also be important but I can’t just be running in there blind looking for the takedown. Matt has a good counterpunch so it might take a little bit for it to develop. But, in the perfect world, I do see me getting the takedowns and ending up on top.”
If Johnson does just that, he knows he could very well be one win away from fighting for the heavyweight title.
“With a win over Mitrione, it gives me another fight with a top contender and I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a title shot with a win after that,” he concluded. “I’ll be on the outskirts of the top-three. Matt is probably like the fifth-ranked guy but it puts me in the driver’s seat for my own destiny.”
Who do you think will win, Tim Johnson or Matt Mitrione?