Damian Johnston Ready to Shine in Unified Debut at Unified 35

Nov 7, 2018

Damian “Top Knot” Johnston has quickly established himself as one of Western Canada’s top young fighters. After starting his career with four wins in his first five outings, the Kelowna product makes his highly anticipated Unified MMA debut against former champion Garret Nybakken at Unified 35 on Dec. 7 at River Cree Resort & Casino in Enoch, AB. Before that, the fast-rising fighter spoke with UnifiedMMA.ca.

How did you find MMA to begin with?

I started in high school. I got bullied towards the end of my elementary school days, so martial arts was something I started as a way to defend myself and build my self-esteem. Now I’m here (laughs).

How do you feel about what you’ve accomplished so far?

That’s actually a tough question. So far I’m pretty happy. I’ve got a big fight coming up against Garret Nybakken, and I feel I didn’t rise to the occasion in my first opportunity in a big fight, against Alex Martinez. I’m a very competitive man; winning is everything to me. This is a fight that will propel me to the next level, so I’m taking it very seriously. I consider this a must-win fight; I can’t come up short again in a big opportunity.

Did you know that this is the final fight of Nybakken’s career?

I did, yes. That was a big part in me taking this fight. I’ve watched Garret fight in person more than five times, so I’ve seen him bring it many times before. This is a really exciting match-up. I’d see his name on all the rankings when I was a young kid, so this is a really cool opportunity as well, to give him the last fight of his career.

How do you see this fight playing out?

It’s going to be a long, gritty fight. Garret is a tough guy who doesn’t go down easily. With it being his last fight, I don’t think there are going to be any early stoppages. I’m trying to put him away, but that’s going to be tough. I’m ready for a 15-minute, three-round, bloody war. It’s going to be the best fight of the night.

Where would you like to be 12 months from today?

I’m looking to have a very busy 2019. My body is healthy and so is my mind. I’m looking to fight four times next year and be in a very different place than I am right now.

Tickets for Unified 35 on Dec. 7 at River Cree Resort & Casino, featuring three Unified MMA championship bouts, are on sale now.