Skip to main content

Minnesota guardsman makes UFC debut – and wins convincingly

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A Minnesota National Guardsman and Mixed Martial Arts professional won on his debut in the Ultimate Fighting Championship Saturday.

Sgt. Tim Johnson, of Lamberton, Minnesota, went up against Russian opponent Shamir Abdurakhimov in the octagon and beat him convincingly, recording a technical knockout at the 4.57 mark of the first round, despite entering the fight as a 2-1 underdog.

It was the 30-year-old's first appearance in the UFC, having built up a 9-1 record fighting in MMA bouts in Fargo since 2010.

"There is no better feeling than fighting and achieving the pinnacle of your sport," he told MMA Junkie. "To make it to the UFC and get a win in the books in my first fight is like a storybook."

His heavyweight debut was part of the preliminary card for UFC Fight Night 63 in Fairfax, Virginia, with the main card being broadcast on FOX Sports 1 Saturday night.

Sergeant's journey to the UFC

The Army Times notes that the 6-foot 3-inches, 265-pound fighter had to make do without the "dozens of fellow soldiers" who usually travel with him from Minnesota to Fargo for his MMA bouts, but were unable to make the trip to Virginia.

The newspaper notes that Sgt. Johnson recently left his full-time truck-driving job to focus on his training, and has 16-months left on his National Guard contract that has so far seen him work convoy security in Kuwait.

He got his start in MMA when working out at the Academy of Combat Arts in Fargo, telling the newspaper: "I went in there as a practice partner. ... I kind of got hooked, started training a little bit. Before I knew it, I was kind of like, 'Let's give a fight a try, see how I like it.'"

It was a tough time for Sgt. Johnson, with the Moorhead Magazine reporting that with his full-time job, a part-time job as a bouncer, and his military commitments, he would be working up to 60 hours a week, and still have to schedule in two workouts a day.

He had been wrestling since he was 4 years old, but didn't have his first MMA fight until October 2010, which he won, before losing his first and only bout so far in March 2011.

Another thing that helped by his upbringing, saying: "Growing up on a small farm and having that nose-t0-the-ground, get-it-done attitude drilled into me really helps."

He definitely got the job done in the ring Saturday.

Next Up

Winter scene snow storm snowfall highway driving traffic - Joe Nelson Feb 2022 4

Winter storm warning for Twin Cities: 6+ inches possible

The heaviest snow could move through the Twin Cities.

police lights

Carver man charged after standoff with police in Prior Lake

The man had been fleeing from police when he allegedly broke into a home and the standoff ensued.

ambulance

41-year-old Sherburne County man killed after crashing car into ditch

The crash occurred Sunday night in Palmer Township.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 4.01.10 PM

Around 200 rescued after ice breaks free on Upper Red Lake

Red Lake — both Upper and Lower — is the largest freshwater lake in the state.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 9.38.30 AM

St. Paul featured on Hallmark Channel's 'Christmas Cam' livestream

Downtown's dazzling display can be viewed from anywhere in the world.

JamborMugshot

Charges: Drunk driver almost struck Bemidji parade spectators

The man told police he was trying to attend the parade himself.

6

The SCHEELS Experience

Whether looking for reliable hunting and fishing gear or new clothing and shoes, Eden Prairie SCHEELS is a one-stop shopping experience for the whole family.

0

Charges: Man fatally shot ex's new partner as he dined at Bloomington restaurant

Criminal charges filed Monday detail an alleged motive in the shooting.

MetallicaLiveLondonWikimedia

Metallica to perform 2 nights in Minneapolis on 2023-24 World Tour

The heavy metal rock band returns to the state for the first time since 2018.

snow, plow

Tuesday storm to dump plowable snow in Minnesota

Snow should reach the Twin Cities Tuesday morning and fall throughout the day.

Related