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Miles Johns punches Anderson dos Santos of Brazil in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 265 event at Toyota Center on August 07, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
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Miles Johns Is Tired Of Feeling ‘Slept On’

After Back-To-Back Bonus-Worthy Knockouts, Miles Johns Wants His Respect.

With each passing week, it seems more and more difficult for bantamweight prospects to distinguish themselves from the pack. The division is overflowing with talent, toughness and flair, and Miles Johns is right in the thick of the conglomerate working on a crack at the Top 15. 

A graduate of Dana White’s Contender Series, Johns bounced back from a  loss to Mario Bautista (the first blemish of his professional career) with a pair of performance bonus-winning third-round knockouts. Despite his explosive streak, Johns still carries a particular chip on his shoulder heading into his bout with John Castaneda at UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs Strickland.

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“I feel like I’m still getting slept on a little bit in this division,” Johns told UFC.com. “That’s fine. It doesn’t really necessarily bother me, but also, I’m like, ‘OK, it’s time again. I guess we need three in a row to show them that we’re here.’” 

Johns respectfully brings up fellow bantamweight up-and-comer Adrian Yanez to contrast the buzz around his own career. Yanez is highly thought of as one of the 135ers to watch, but Johns is the last man to beat him – a split decision win for the Legacy Fighting Alliance bantamweight belt back in 2018. He doesn’t bring up Yanez to besmirch his fellow Texan, but he hopes to really break through the MMA consciousness with his performance on February 5. 

Miles Johns punches Cole Smith in their bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Rogers Arena on September 14, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)

Miles Johns punches Cole Smith in their bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Rogers Arena on September 14, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)

Vs Cole Smith In Vancouver, 2019 (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

At 27 years old, “Chapo” has time on his side, but that doesn’t mean he needs to exhibit patience, either. Whether it’s the lack of buzz around his fights or something else, Johns is the type of guy who gleans motivation from wherever he can. 

“It’s just the chip of proving myself,” he said. “You kind of make up your own stories in your head of what people, whoever those people even are, could be thinking. It’s kind of a Michael Jordan type of trait. I just carry that with me, and I just remember that moment.”

Even if he is taking things personally at the same rate as His Airness, Johns knows he needs to also just produce results, and so far, he has. He talks about his loss to Bautista as a freeing moment as well as an opportunity to show his resolve. 

MORE FIGHT NIGHT: Fight By Fight Preview | Main Event Preview | Hermansson Feature | Strickland Feature

The father of three boys, Johns doesn’t necessarily pull all his motivation from his role as a father. He does, however, understand the example he sets as their dad, and he is adamant about not letting them see any signs of weakness from him. That doesn’t mean he feels like he can’t ever lose a fight without disappointing them, but it does mean he is mindful of the ways he responds afterward. 

Miles Johns leaps in a bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 31, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Miles Johns leaps in a bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 31, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“They know there could be a win or a loss in any fight that I go into,” he said. “I can control how I respond to it. I can control how I carry myself, and I refuse to let my boys see me act weak in any way at any moment in there.”

So far, Johns has done that, particularly in the way he finds finishes deep into fights. Both of his UFC finishes came in the third round, and none of his six finishes have come in the first frame. While some might look at that and form a lesser opinion of Johns’ abilities, it more so speaks to his cardio and how he carries power into later rounds.  

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In 23 professional fights, Castaneda has only been finished once, so Johns understands he can’t irresponsibly hunt the knockout just because he’s on a streak of them. That said, he also trusts his ability to go for broke and recharge for another burst. 

“I can explode, and I can fatigue, and then I can come back very quickly,” Johns said. “That’s the point of strength and conditioning. It’s not to not get tired. People are afraid of getting tired. I know I can be exhausted, and I’m going to come back in two seconds and be ready to explode again. I think people worry about my cardio a little bit, but they should be worried about my ability to still throw a lot of heat in the third round after I’ve been throwing heat for two rounds already. That’s another confidence booster for me.”

Highlight: Miles Johns Scores 3rd-Round Knockout | UFC 265
Highlight: Miles Johns Scores 3rd-Round Knockout | UFC 265
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No matter how he gets the job done, Johns wants to start getting his flowers. That’s much easier said than done in general, but especially so as a bantamweight. Often, you need to produce the spectacular, and Johns has a knack for that. 

With all that in mind, he is riding high on confidence and trusts in his work. That first professional loss is well behind him at this point, and Saturday night is another chance to distance himself from that result and inch closer to the cream of the bantamweight crop.

“I still don’t think I performed to my best in the Octagon yet,” he said. “I think we have a lot to show…I still got a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. I don’t feel like I have exactly as much hype or as much recognition as I should, and so that chip is there, and I’m ready to show everybody.”

Don't miss a single round of UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs Strickland, live from the UFC APEX on Saturday, February 5 on ESPN+. Prelims begin at 4pm ET/1pm PT. Main card begins at 7pm ET/4pm PT.

UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs Strickland took place on Saturday, January 15, 2022, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. See the Final ResultsOfficial Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses — and relive all of the action on UFC Fight Pass.