On this week's episode of The Ultimate Fighter, former WEC fighter Jonathan Brookins advanced to the semifinals by beating Sako Chivitchian by first-round rear-naked choke, while former Sengoku fighter Nam Phan beat Cody McKenzie by second-round TKO. In our weekly interview with Michael Johnson
, MMAFighting.com asked Johnson for his thoughts on those fights, as well as his own upcoming fight with Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres.
Johnson said he was impressed by both Brookins and Phan, and was keeping an eye on them as potential future opponents, but he said that most of his attention was focused on his fight with Bruce Leroy, which will air on next week's episode.
The interview is below. Michael David Smith: Jonathan Brookins got Sako Chivitchian's back very quickly and got him to tap to the rear-naked choke in just a couple minutes. Were you surprised by how dominant Brookins was on the ground?
Michael Johnson: No, I wasn't surprised. I knew Jonathan would be dominant on the ground from training with him and watching him train. I thought he could do that to Sako, and I wasn't surprised. Did you know anything about Jonathan before you guys were on the show together? He had a pretty impressive record coming in and actually got into the third round with Jose Aldo in the WEC a couple years ago.
No, I really didn't know who he was. I had heard that he fought Jose Aldo in the WEC, but that was really all I knew. Nam Phan really got the better of Cody McKenzie in the stand-up and won by second-round TKO. What did you think of Nam's striking?
Nam looked good. He was definitely one of the better guys on the other team. His stand-up looked real good. It was a good fight, and Nam was really impressive. We've seen that Cody has that great guillotine choke, which he used to win both of his previous fights on the show and he also used to win nine fights in a row before he was on the show. But is he kind of a one-trick pony with just that one move and, not enough striking?
No, I wouldn't say he's a one-trick pony, I'd just say he has a go-to move that he's great at. He's pretty good with his stand-up. He's a little awkward in his style, which poses a lot of problems for people. Were you watching these two fights thinking to yourself how you would match up against them, or was all of your focus on your own upcoming fight with Alex at that point?
My focus was on Alex. I really didn't get the chance to watch the whole fight with Cody and Nam because at that point I was actually in the back warming up for my fight. I was really focused on what I would do against Alex. And on next week's show we get to see you fight Bruce Leroy. What was your mindset at that point as you got ready for the fight?
My mindset was just to keep the pressure on him, keep taking him down, keep stalking him. I really thought I could control the fight with my aggression and that's what I was thinking about. I didn't want to let my emotions get the best of me, and I just wanted to focus on winning my fight.Check back every Thursday to get Michael Johnson's take on the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter.