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Johnny Walker explains why he didn’t wear Brazil kit in impressive UFC debut

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Buenos Aires-Roundtree vs Walker
Johnny Walker stopped Khalil Rountree in the first round of their UFC Argentina fight.
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Johnny Walker scored one of the most impressive wins by a UFC newcomer in 2018, knocking out Khalil Rountree in the opening round of their UFC Argentina main card bout and earning a Performance of the Night bonus Saturday night. But there’s a reason why he didn’t represent Brazil in the cage.

Walker, who told his life story in an interview to MMA Fighting before the fight, walked out to the Octagon with a United Kingdom Reebok kit. After such a devastating finish, the England-based light heavyweight hopes to get more recognition from fellow Brazilians.

”I hope someone sees me now, because no one saw me before,” Walker told the media after the fight in Buenos Aires. “There was no social media posts about me, no Instagram photos, people were talking about Rountree only, and now I think someone can see me. Invest in me, guys, I’m here. I got here without any support, so imagine if I had it. And there are many more like me, with no opportunity. That’s what’s lacking, people humble enough to look at the future inside of everyone, but nobody does.”

Winner of his last seven fights, including a decision over Luis Henrique da Silva at Contender Series Brazil in August, Walker plans to continue representing the United Kingdom unless someone decides to support him.

”It’s no businessman, just regular people (from England), family men who help me, send me money, find gyms for me to train,” Walker said. “We can’t get support from businessmen in Brazil. Regular people in England support me every day, that’s why I stay there.

”I’m a patriot man, I love Brazil, but Brazil doesn’t help me. I can’t stay in Brazil to train. Wherever I am, any other country, United States, China, if doors are open for me, I’ll carry their flag. Any country that helps me, I’ll carry their flag, that’s how it works. I have to show who’s supporting me.”

It remains to be seen if a bonus-winning first-round knockout over Rountree will be enough for Walker to get more support in his country, but he wasn’t really happy with the way he stopped “The War Horse”.

”I wanted to knock him out, but I wanted a prettier knockout,” said the Brazilian. “I have many more weapons, spinning kicks, flying knees, but I landed a little elbow and he went down, so it’s good, too.”

”I was seeing his movements, how he reacted to my strikes,” he continued. “After I saw he was a bit slow, he had no perception of speed, I threw two overhands and he didn’t even move his head, I said ‘I’ll throw an overhand or kick his head, he’s not even moving so it will land,’ and that’s what happened.”

The UFC is scheduled to return to Brazil on Feb. 2 for a Fight Night card in Fortaleza, and that could be a good spot for Walker to get more eyeballs in his native country.

Walker wants to get back in action way sooner, though.

”Whoever the UFC gives me, it’s good,” Walker said. “I’ll continue to train, wait, and be ready for anyone. (I want to fight) as quick as possible. Can we do it next week?”

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