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Johnny Walker blames coach for Corey Anderson loss: ‘Imagine going to war and not being happy with who’s with you’

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Johnny Walker lost by first-round knockout to Corey Anderson at UFC 244 in New York.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Johnny Walker decided to make a few changes in his life after losing to Corey Anderson at UFC 244.

The light heavyweight sensation had his impressive three-fight UFC win streak snapped in just two minutes by Anderson in New York, and that was the catalyst for him to decide to part ways with longtime coach Leo Gosling.

“I don’t have a coach now,” Walker told MMA Fighting. “I’m looking for a better one to work with me. New life.”

According to the light heavyweight talent, UFC 244 fight week was very “stressful” and they just could not work together anymore.

“We spent a long time together, he lived with me in Thailand, but sometimes lacked respect between us,” Walker said. “I don’t know. I just know it couldn’t continue. We had big situations on fight week. We almost fought each other before the fight because of small things.

“There were other things, too. The gym in Thailand, he was working on things there, but didn’t get a contract done. I spent $30,000 and there’s nothing in the gym. I ended up losing that money. Many things happened, so I decided to stop working with him otherwise I wouldn’t get anywhere, I would keep losing. I don’t want to lose, I want to win.”

Walker was on a roll prior to UFC 244, a nine-fight winning streak that had him already in conversation for a shot at 205-pound king Jon Jones, and he blames those pre-fight situations for his defeat at Madison Square Garden.

“Imagine going to war and not being happy with who’s with you,” Walker said. “You don’t know if you can count on him, if you can get shot in the back, you know? It’s complicated.

“It doesn’t matter how hard you trained, how physically prepared you are, if you have something blocking your mind, a personal issue that doesn’t let you be creative and stresses you on fight week, you don’t have good performance. Fighting is 100 percent mental. Everybody trains hard. If your head isn’t good on fight day, you lose to someone that isn’t that good or someone you were confident you’d beat. Your mind has to be bulletproof, 100 percent focused.”

Gosling declined to comment when contacted by MMA Fighting.

Walker has been training at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas before flying to Canada on Sunday to join Firas Zahabi’s Tristar Gym. The veteran coach will get him ready for Krylov and be in his corner on March 14, when he faces Nikita Krylov at UFC Brasilia. Walker said he decided to contact Zahabi after the coach mentioned on Joe Rogan’s podcast he was interested in training the Brazilian talent one day. There’s a chance they work together for all of his future fights, Walker said.

“I want to move to Las Vegas after my next fight and maybe I’ll do my next camps at Tristar,” he said. “If I like it, I’ll stay there with him. If I don’t like it, I’ll go to (SBG with) John Kavanagh in Ireland. I’ve trained with him before, and now I’ll see how things go with Firas. I have two great coaches who want to work with me, so I’ll see which one is better for me.”

The 27-year-old light heavyweight has a big test ahead of him in his native country. Krylov is coming off a decision defeat to Glover Teixeira, the first time he went the distance in 33 professional bouts, and Walker sees his foe as “the perfect fight for me.”

“I think his styles makes it a good fight for me,” Walker said. “I’m ready. I like his fighting style and I’m sure my game plan will be great to beat him and go back to the top. God willing, I’ll beat up everyone and get a title shot by the end of the year or early next year. I have to, I need that belt.”