Former Newman wrestler Miles Johns signed an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contract and is now jumping into the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
Johns said he grew from his time at Newman and because of his experience, he has come out more successful.
“Being young, dumb and on my own, I made some mistakes, but they have shaped me into the man that I am today,” he said. “I am very grateful for the time I had at Newman and the people I met along the way.”
After leaving Newman, Johns became a registered nurse and worked his way up the MMA rankings.
Johns, who will make his UFC debut Sept. 14 in Vancouver, is now 9-0.
He earned his UFC contract by first winning the Legacy Fighting Alliance Bantamweight title and then winning in the Dana White Contender Series.
“Although undefeated, I have still yet to perform even close to my full capability and that lights a fire in me,” he said. “I train each day with the mindset of the next time I step in the cage I am going to be the absolute best version of myself. This keeps me focused on the details that can be detrimental in a game of inches like an MMA fight.”
Johns said he does his best to manage his two full-time jobs: being a fighter and a father.
“I train two to three times each day, not including physical therapy, film and marketing, which is why I had to give up a job opportunity as a registered nurse after I got my UFC contract. This was a very hard decision to make as I have two children and a wife to support,” he said. “However, I know that I only have a short window of time to do this so I have to give it everything I have.”
One friendship from Newman that Johns holds dear is his freshman roommate Reece Wright Conklin, who passed away in a motor vehicle accident in 2015.
“The friendship we had will stick with me for the remainder of my life. He was a phenomenal wrestler, and I still try to take part of his mentality into my fights,” he said. “We used to always talk about doing MMA after wrestling. He would say he was going to be a world champion, and I have no doubt in my mind that he would have been. I feel as, in a way, he is still on this journey with me.”
Johns said he will be ready for whatever comes his way.
“I have been working for this for a long time. I plan on starting off strong with a win then working my way up the rankings to the belt,” he said. “It is going to be a wild ride, but I am mentally prepared.”