Nine days notice? No problem, says heavyweight Lavar Johnson (Pictured). The former Strikeforce slugger first caught wind that he might be called up from the bullpen to replace Mark Hunt and fight Stefan Struve at UFC 146 on Wednesday night. When the phone rang this morning to confirm, Johnson didn’t hesitate to accept the scrap.
“I am good to go,” Johnson stated. “I weight 250lbs and I’ve got a lot of confidence in my ability right now. You don’t get chances like this too often in life, so when you are lucky to get this kind of opportunity you got to make the most of it.”
In his Octagon debut, “Big” had Joey Beltran unconscious on the canvas before the 1stRound horn blared. Just 12 days ago, he viciously put Pat Barry down in the opening round of their ‘UFC on FOX 3’ shootout.
Instead of whooping it up in the clubs and getting drunk off his success, Johnson got back to work after taking a brief break.
“I used to have some drinks, gets some BBQ in my belly and get a little out of shape right after a fight, but I feel that I am now at a level where I need to be in shape all the time,” he shared. “So I stayed in shape and I can now seize this chance.”
With opportunity knocking on his door, Johnson greeted the challenge with open arms. Speaking of arms…
“Struve is a great fighter. He’s a skilled guy with a lot of heart, but I am not worried about his size. His reach is 83 inches and mine is 82, and he doesn’t use his height,” Johnson expressed. “He always gets the crap beat out of him, he refuses to quit, then his opponent gasses or has to let up and Struve comes back to win.
“I am a fan of his actually, and I’ve cheered for him because of his heart. The only way to beat him is to put him out cold. That’s what I have to do next week and I will do it.”
UFC 146 takes place May 26th inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.