Prospect in the Spotlight (Aug 21-22): Chad Johnson

Introduction

Tuesday, August 18th, American heavyweight prospect Chad Johnson will be in action on Dana White’s Contender Series, where he will be looking to continue his winning ways against Josh Parisian. He will be looking for another win, as Johnson looks to impress the UFC brass in an attempt to earn a contract. He represents Roufusport, a respected camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Ground-and-Pound: Johnson is a physically dominant guy, as he’s very strong and explosive. That’s why he tends to use his wrestling effectively in fights. Once Johnson is on the mat, he has devastating ground-and-pound. Once he scores that takedown, he’s strong and dominant enough to get to a spot where he can throw that ground-and-pound. He’s good at getting to full mount or a side position where he can effectively hammer his opponents. His top control is quite good as well. His ground-and-pound is heavy and fight finishing.

Finisher: Speaking of fight finishing, Johnson does not go to decisions, for better or worse. That said, he was 7 for 7 in terms of knockouts as an amateur. He’s continued that trend as a pro, knocking out all six of the opponents he has defeated. He has that “kill or be killed” attitude in the cage, which is why he’s never gone to decision in general. He’s been finished in the fights he’s lost himself. Finishing is important in MMA, especially to the brass of the UFC, so this is a major strength of Johnson.

Needs Improvement

Striking Defense: While Johnson’s offensive striking is devastating and destructive, his striking defense could still use some work. He can keep his hands low, which is a big problem when fighting fellow heavyweights with heavy hands. He also can get a bit reckless stepping in while brawling on the feet, as he can walk into big counterstrikes. He did that in an amateur bout with Caleb Harris. His footwork isn’t bad and he cuts the cage off well. However, when he gets careless, he is exposed to killshots. His chin has been broken through before, so he needs to protect his jaw.

Strength of Schedule: Johnson’s pro schedule has not been the strongest thus far, but that could be because there is just not nearly as much heavyweight talent outside the big promotions to build yourself up on. His lone pro loss came to 9-5 Tomar Washington via knockout, which shows he’s fallen to fighters not of the highest caliber. However, in his most recent fight, he did defeat fellow prospect Calyn Hull. This fight with Parisian is going to be a great test for Johnson to see if he’s ready.

Outlook

UFC Curtain Jerker: Chad Johnson is 34 years old. That means the window is closing quickly on the Wisconsinite. In terms of trajectory, Johnson certainly has a ceiling at this point. He’s no rookie. Johnson’s power and finishing ability is attractive enough that Dana White will give him a shot with a victory over Parisian. However, he will be relegated to opening bouts on the cards he’s on. There aren’t many fights on the UFC roster I can see Johnson besting. He’ll give you a couple exciting fights, though, which is worthwhile in itself. However, he has to get by Parisian first.

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