Athletes & Celebrities

Rising UFC Prospect Michael Johnson

He may fight as a lightweight, but he doesn't train like one

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Rising UFC Prospect Michael Johnson

Not everything you believe about the UFC is true. heavyweight fights don’t always end in spectacular first-round knockouts, and lightweights don’t always go the distance. Of Michael Johnson’s three lightweight division fights since his runner-up finish on 2010’s The Ultimate Fighter reality show, two never made it past the first round: a submission loss to Paul Sass in October 2011, and a TKO win over Edward Faaloloto a few months prior.

You also likely think smaller fighters train more for conditioning than pure strength. Wrong again. Although he tips the Toledo at a match-ready 155 pounds, the Missouri native is no lightweight in the gym. Like any fighter, he partakes in intense cardio sessions, his being under the watchful eyes of strength coaches Brian King of Martino Training Systems in Springfield, MO, and Juan Carlos Santana of the Institute of Human Performance. However, it’s his strength workouts that Johnson enjoys most.

“I love deadlifting,” says Johnson, who works up to 450 pounds for sets of five reps in workouts. “I don’t know if it’s because I’m good at it, or because at 155 pounds I’m doing deads with three times my body weight, but I love them. I also love my hang cleans and do a lot of explosive movements, like box jumps. But I’m not a big fan of bench pressing, really.”

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