Dana White slammed his fight, UFC LHW says he was just ‘having fun’

Dana White was not happy with one of his UFC light heavyweights recently. That fighter has responded to criticism of his performance.

By: Lucas Rezende | 4 months ago
Dana White slammed his fight, UFC LHW says he was just ‘having fun’
Dana White. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Dana White recently criticized the performance of rising UFC light heavyweight Johnny Walker, despite Walker scoring one of the biggest victories of his career. That fight happened at UFC on ABC 4 a few weeks ago. That’s where the Brazilian defeated former title challenger Anthony Smith via unanimous decision on the night’s co-main event. The accomplishment left the 31-year-old satisfied with his development, but not everyone was impressed.

Dana White wasn’t wowed by Walker’s performance

At the event’s post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White expressed his disappointment in Walker after the fight. While the Brazilian did defeat Smith, White expected to see a more expressive performance, saying the he ‘didn’t wow anybody tonight’ and was put in the ‘co-main event to kind of shine’ that night.

In an interview on MMA Fighting‘s podcast Trocacao Franca, Walker addressed his boss’ comments, saying he could have done more to end finish the fight, but chose not to do it. The Brazilian’s reasoning behind his actions was simple. The way Walker put it, Smith just did not pose a threat to him that night, so he decided to have fun while winning the match.

“He knows I could have ended the fight, but he didn’t know I was feeling that experience,” Walker said of Dana White’s comments. “I could have ended it, yeah, but I guess I didn’t want to end it. I was enjoying it, I wanted to see what [Smith] could offer me. He didn’t have anything left to offer me, so I should have finished him in the third, but I only had seconds left. I should have woken up, like, ‘I guess it’s enough,’ but time was up and I couldn’t finish him.”

“I was having fun, I was testing myself,” Walker said. “I was seeing what he could offer with his hands, blocking his attacks. I can’t test myself when I’m fighting for the belt, you know? I have to test myself now and show I can get hit, I can block punches. I’m happy I didn’t finish him and used those three rounds to absorb strikes and see where I’m at. I know I could’ve finished him, but I’m also happy I didn’t because I had the experience. Fifteen minutes of fighting with the fifth-ranked fighter is great experience.”

Johnny Walker was trying to have fun against Smith

Though he took his time and did not finish Smith, Walker believes he still could have gotten a stoppage late into the fight. Nonetheless, the Brazilian hopes that his dominant victory over ‘Lionheart’ can show Dana White he is getting better and ready for the top of the division.

“If that was the toughest guy [I’ve ever fought], that shows I’m evolving, because he didn’t put me in any risk during the fight,” Walker told Trocação Franca. “I saw his hand was kind of soft in the third round, he was slower. I almost finished him in the third. If I had 10 more seconds, I think I would had ended him — and that shows my level is very high now, the fact that I walked through the No. 5 guy. And I know I can evolve more and more. I know of my potential, I know I can get a lot better.

“I’m not 100 percent happy [with the fight] because I’m sure I could have knocked him out if I had pushed the pace a bit more, but I’m happy because I saw that my level is much higher when compared to his.”

The win over over Smith put Walker (21-7) on a three-fight winning streak, with victories over Paul Craig and Ion Cutelaba prior to his most recent one. Before that, the 31-year-old was on a two-fight losing skid, with losses to Thiago Santos and Jamahal Hill, respectively in October 2021 and February 2022.

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About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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