Johnny Walker has needed less than three minutes…total…to win his first three UFC bouts, and he took out Misha Cirkunov at UFC 235. But, it doesn’t sound like Dana White plans to have the rising star face a top light-heavyweight contender next.
The Brazilian fighter agreed to step in and face Cirkunov at Saturday’s event, just a month removed from Walker’s 15 second, knockout of Justin Ledet. Walker scored yet another highlight reel win, as he dropped Cirkunov with a flying knee and finished the deal with punches at the 38-second mark.
Due to what Walker has done in his UFC run thus far, there was already talk about him facing a top ten fighter next, if he beat Cirkunov on Saturday. But, while discussing Walker’s future after UFC 235, White had this to say (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“This guy wants to fight every weekend, which I love,” White said. “When you are a rising star and you have the talent that that guy does, staying active is the best thing for your career. We’re not looking to throw him in against anyone serious any time soon.”
Now, by “serious”, it’s possible White’s talking about say a top-five ranked fighter. But, if White isn’t thinking about having Walker face someone who is ranked in the top ten next, that would be kind of surprising. After all, Cirkunov was ranked #14 prior to this weekend’s action, and he certainly appears to be ready to face the division’s elite.
And what about the injury Walker reported he incurred during his post-fight, dance celebration? According to White, the injury might not be as serious as initially thought:
“I’m hearing that he’s OK,” White said. “It’s all I’ve been terrorizing the medical staff about tonight. They’re going to wait until Monday to get him an MRI, because he said he was fine. All the symptoms looked good after the fight. Hopefully, that’s true.”
Yes. Hopefully, that is true, and we get to see Walker back in the Octagon this summer against someone who’s ranked in the top 10.