Kajan “Ragin” Johnson: “I Personally Think That I’m The Best Lightweight in Canada”
Veteran Discusses Latest MFC Victory, Move to Tri Star Facility
By Kelsey Mowatt
At Maximum Fighting Championship 31 on October 7th, Kajan “Ragin” Johnson took less than four minutes to become just the second man to defeat Team Quest’s Richie Whitson, and in doing so, served up a powerful reminder about his presence in the Canadian lightweight division. After spending nearly a year on the sidelines, following his unanimous decision win over Ryan Healy last November, the win couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I was supposed to fight Whitson in February but I couldn’t because I was injured,” Johnson told FCF. “I was supposed to fight Marcus Davis but I couldn’t because I was injured, and then I was supposed to fight in June…but I didn’t have enough time for a proper training camp.”
“It’s been really tough financially because if I don’t fight I don’t make money,” Johnson added. “I’ve tried to do what I can through teaching or giving private lessons, working at a bar, but I’ve been just getting by…I risked everything for this fight; right before this fight I took some trips I couldn’t really afford to go train at Tri Star or Xtreme Couture’s in Vegas…I had absolutely no money and if I hadn’t won this fight I didn’t really know where I was going to be living. It worked out though and I’m thanking God everyday.”
Not only did Johnson walk away from MFC 31 with his 19th pro win, but the 27 old-veteran impressed in doing so, by reversing a takedown attempt from Whitson early on and securing a fight ending rear-naked-choke soon after.
“I was really happy with my performance actually,” said Johnson. “Usually I have a lot of things to pick apart, things that I could have done better, but in this fight the only issue I really have is that I let him get to my legs…I was happy with my stand-up, I was happy with my control on the ground and my submission and everything, but I shouldn’t have allowed him to get to my legs.”
Whitson had won five bouts heading into MFC 31, and was coming off a memorable, split decision win over Curtis DeMarce in February.
“I think that it was a very pivotal fight for my career,” said Johnson. “If I had lost this fight a lot of people would have started writing me off. There was a lot of people saying that every time I get close to a goal I kind of mess it up, which has been kind of true in the past, but it’s no longer true. I realized prior to this fight that I’ve never lost a bout that I was truly mentally and physically prepared for.”
While Johnson incurred several losses during the opening years of his near decade long career, the TKO and XMMA vet has commanded attention throughout the Canadian MMA community more recently, by going 12-2-1 in his last 15 fights. In the process of doing so, Johnson has become one of the country’s top ranked lightweights.
“It depends on what your perspective is but I think I should definitely be ranked in the top five,” said Johnson when asked where he believes he sits in the Canadian division. “I think probably fourth, at least I think I should be, but I personally think that I’m the best lightweight in Canada. I think that if I fought any of the other lightweights in Canada that I would beat them.”
“Including Sam Stout, including Chris Horodecki, including Mark Bocek,” Johnson furthered when asked if that included competitors from the major organizations like the UFC. “Me and Mark Bocek have a common opponent named Douglas Evans; he went the distance with Mark Bocek and I beat the crap out of him and subbed him in the second round.”
While it remains to be seen if Johnson will secure an opportunity in the UFC, and further, how he would fair, the British Columbia fighter’s decision to relocate to Montreal’s renowned Tri Star Gym will likely only further his chances.
“I’m moving there November 1st,” Johnson revealed. “I was training there for a couple of weeks before this fight and it made a huge difference. A lot of the reasons why I won that fight was techniques that Firas (Zahabi) gave me to win which worked perfectly.”
“That fight would have been different if I hadn’t gone to Tri Star,” Johnson noted. “I still would have won, but it would have been different.”
Photo courtesy Maximum Fighting Championship