Johnny Walker, a renowned UFC fighter, expressed disappointment with the abrupt end to his UFC 294 fight against his adversary, Magomed Ankalaev. Their much-anticipated showdown on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s marquee card on a Saturday in Abu Dhabi ended quite anticlimactically. The fight was stopped before it even really began, with Ankalaev (17-1) landing a knee strike on a grounded Walker (21-7) directly on his chin. Following a brief conversation with the Brazilian fighter, the on-site doctor deemed him unable to continue, concluding the fight as a confused Walker protested.
In a recent appearance on the popular talk show “The MMA Hour,” Walker explained the situation from his perspective. He primarily attributed the confusion to a problematic language barrier. The 31-year-old fighter recalled the incident saying, “He asked me if I wanted to continue fighting. I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Where are you?’ … I didn’t want to say the wrong answer because I was excited when he was doing the test and I wanted to say the right answer. I thought to say Abu Dhabi … and then I said, ‘Fine, I’m in the f****** desert, bro. I’m here. I’m good. … I’m in the desert. I’m in the Middle East.’”
Walker also highlighted his proficiency in English, stating that the doctor’s heavy accent and language barriers resulted in the misunderstanding. His mind whirled in the heat of the situation, dealing with the unexpected blow and the possible title shot, but Walker insisted he was fit to fight.
Drawing a parallel to another UFC incident, Walker mentioned the contrast with Aljamain Sterling’s title win over Petr Yan at UFC 259 in 2021. Sterling was crowned champion due to a disqualification win after Yan struck him on the temple with his knee while Sterling was grounded. While Walker made clear he did not aspire to win the UFC championship in the same manner, he feels Ankalaev should have been penalized for the illegal move. He expressed his frustration saying, “They didn’t give me time to calm down, to recover… It’s more disappointing because the same thing happened with Aljamain and he became a champ after a knee like that. It’s an illegal shot. He could put me out with a very illegal shot. I could have damage in my brain.”