Missouri’s Charles Johnson successfully defended his flyweight strap by scoring a TKO over Joao Camilo on Aug. 27 at LFA 114. Already a perfect 3-0 this year, Johnson expects to hear from the UFC sooner rather than later.
The 30-year-old plans on having a massive 2021 — that includes five victories — which he’s already retained three of. Johnson is staying both physically and mentally ready, keeping his tools sharp at all times. In this interview with the rising flyweight, he delves into why he believes he’s a problem for anybody he faces, what it was like defending his belt in a new venue in St. Louis, why he expects to hear from the UFC, and more.
Johnson competed for the third time this year, and just like the previous two outings, he walked away victorious. “InnerG” is an impressive 10-2 since turning pro in 2016. He believes it’s just about time for him to make his debut on the biggest of stages, the UFC.
Charles Johnson Interview
“Yes for sure,” he answered when asked if he expects a call from the UFC. “I just gotta be patient, train, and stay ready It could be as early as this week or next week. Short-notice fights happen all the time so I know I’m on the short, short-list now. My goal is to get to five fights this year and if I do what I need to do in that debut fight, for sure I’m looking for a quick turnaround. That’s me man, I love fighting. I already made that goal and I’m track.”
Johnson has a really solid frame for the division, standing at 5’9″ with a 70.5″ reach. He’s also developed a really well-rounded attack from years of training at gyms like Tiger Muay Thai, Saint Charles MMA & BJJ, Simmons Wrestling Academy, and more. Add that to some pro boxing experience and you have a versatile threat for anyone standing across from him.
“Yes definitely,” Johnson replied when asked if he sees himself as one of the most well-rounded flyweights in the world. “There’s not a lot of guys who can do what I do at this weight class. I’m also very tall for the division and I’m a switch hitter. I can hit left-handed and right-handed just as well, I can kick left or right. On the feet, there’s no one like me in this weight class. As far as the ground I can get back to my feet and do what I need to do. There are very few guys in the UFC I believe that could take me down and hold me down. I’m constantly working on that as well.”
“Inner G” Nickname Origin
“I have a reason behind most things that I do,” Johnson began, “And I was deciding on a ‘fight-name’ — and I didn’t wanna go with some bullsh** like everybody else, like the hammer or something like that. For me, it’s gotta have some meaning behind it. I’ve always been a very energetic kid, bouncing off the walls, and getting into sh** so when I became a fighter and it got time to pick a name that’s what I came up with.”
At LFA 114, Johnson was fortunate enough to fight in his own backyard essentially. Not only that, but he co-headlined the very first MMA event at The Factory at the District, which opened in the spring of 2021.
“It was great, had a lot of family, friends, fans, and new faces,” he said. “It was a great experience. A lot of people showing a lot of love. A lot of new people to share new experiences with so that was cool. It was a new venue too that just got built and just opened up so that was pretty cool. I had never seen it or heard of it before these fights got announced. So that was nice to experience a new place.”
Charles Johnson opened up the new venue with a statement victory — scoring a finish in the second round. It didn’t go exactly according to plan, but like many of the greats, “InnerG” adapted and got the job done.
“Not really,” he confirmed. “But it did go the way we wanted it to go if you know what I mean. The way my Jiu-Jitsu coach envisioned it and if I’d have it my way I would’ve just submitted him. That was just me doing what I needed to do.”
Johnson is a very dangerous flyweight who will likely make his UFC debut in the coming months. Make sure you’re on the lookout for a fight announcment.
Ryan Truland is an MMA writer who conducts interviews with athletes, provides creative pieces, and whatever else is needed to keep readers up to date on the latest and greatest MMA news.