Athletes & Celebrities

Rising UFC Prospect Michael Johnson

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

Rising UFC Prospect Michael Johnson

“I like my guys to be strong,” says Team Jaco head coach Mike Van Arsdale, Johnson’s primary fight trainer. “The stronger the athlete is, the more power and endurance he has, the better he’s going to do when he has to perform in competition.”

Van Arsdale’s philosophy entails first making a fighter’s muscles big, then filling them with strength—which translates to high volume and lots of reps and supersets at first, followed by a transition to heavier weights and lower reps later on. “You’ll add endurance this way because you’re doing multiple exercises back to back. This is what’s going to take Mike to another level.”

When preparing for a fight, 26-year-old Johnson’s training schedule consists of eight MMA practices per week, where he performs intensive wrestling, grappling, and striking drills, combined with four strength and conditioning sessions.

“Because Mike is a young, up-and- coming fighter, he has to be in the heat a little bit more than an experienced veteran might be,” Van Arsdale says. “He’s working on his technique hard every week until he learns the system and gets established in his weight class on a world level. If you haven’t established yourself yet, you’ve got to pay a certain price to get there.”

Michael “The Menace” Johnson

BORN: June 4, 1986

HOMETOWN: Springfield, MO

HEIGHT: 5'10"



MOST RECENT FIGHT: Unanimous decision over heavily favored Shane Roller at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis, Jan. 28, 2012.

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