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[Interview by Pattee Mak – March 3, 2014].  They don’t call him “BIG” John for nothing.  John Johnston (5-0, 5 Ko’s) from Reading, Massachusetts will be stepping into the cage on March 14, 2014 at Twin River Casino, Rhode Island while colliding with UFC Veteran, Josh “Heavy” Hendricks (19-9, 5 Ko’s) in the co-main event for the CES MMA Heavyweight Title.


Pattee Mak:  You are currently training at Sityodtong in Massachusetts.  Who is training you and how long have your been training there?


Johnston: I have a lot of trainers. My head trainer is Kru Mark DelleGrotte. He has always been my trainer for 13 years now. He sets up my camps, trains me for my striking and game planning. Tyson Chartier who is my manager but also makes sure all is going well in my camp. Juliano Coutinho who is my main Jiu Jitsu instructor. I also have Mike Gresh (Loco Lobo) for my Jiu Jitsu. Along with these guys running my camp, I have many others who work with me in boxing, wrestling, and preparation for my fight. These guys are Mark Massey and Dave Gleeson for my boxing, John Fain has been coming up and working with me on wrestling, I have a division one wrestler Bek running my wrestling training, Josh Diekmann, Greg Rebello, and Greg Muldrow pushing me every day in sparring. I also have a strength and conditioning coach that I would not be in the shape I am in without him and that’s Mike Perry from Skill Of Strength in N. Chelmsford, [Massachusetts].


Pattee Mak:  Has your trainer made any adjustments in your training for this fight?


Johnston:  Not Really. I am always training my all around game. Many people think I am just a striker, but they don’t know all the tricks I have up my sleeve on the ground and against the cage. I just never really had to go to the ground in my fights.


Pattee Mak:  Hmmm I’d luv to know what those tricks you have up your sleeve. You’ll have to fill me in later. 


Pattee Mak:  I’m sure you’ve studied Hendricks, what can you tell me about his style of fighting?


Johnston:  Ya know Josh will fight anywhere the fight goes. He has great wrestling and will stand and fight too.   I am sure he is going to be ready all around and so will I.


Pattee Mak:  Your opponent has fought a total of 28 fights and you fought a total of 5.   I’m sure your opponent is thinking this will be a walk in the park. What would you like to say to him?


Johnston:  Well Josh definitely has a lot of experience no doubt about that. Yes I have only fought in the cage a total of 5 times, but people don’t realize I have trained with some of the best of the best. Many of my training partners have included Jason Lambert, Marcus Davis, Patrick Cote, Rich Franklin, Christian Moorecraft, the list just goes on and on. So I can promise you number of fights don’t matter to me. I have had a tremendous amount of experience myself.


Pattee Mak:  The last time Hendricks stepped into the cage it was about a year ago.  He lost against J. A. Dudley in round 1.  Do you think since he hasn’t been in the cage in awhile and he’s coming off of a loss, could this be an advantage to you?


Johnston:  Well he has actually stepped in the cage one more time after that and he fought one of my coaches, Juliano Coutinho at CFX in I believe August. Josh lost that fight in under 2 minutes of the first round. [Click here to see Coutinho’s interview about his fight with Hendricks:] I never feel it is an advantage of someone coming off a loss or not fighting in a while only because when they are off for a while it doesn’t mean they are not training. When they are coming off a loss it could make them even more dangerous because they are hungry for a win.


Pattee Mak: You fought five fights.  Four of them were over in the 1st round, and only one was over in the 2nd round. Any predictions?


Johnston: I never give predictions. The fight game is so unpredictable that anything can happen at any time. Just like my second fight I broke my ankle going into the cage by slipping on the wet mat. I still fought and had to go to the second round. I finished the fight with a KO but I had to spend 3 minutes of the first round in mount and defending myself because I couldn’t use my foot to buck off. The only thing I will say about this fight is that I am coming hard to take what’s mine and that title will be around my waist by the end of the fight.


Pattee Mak: Let’s stay on the topic of your five fights.  The last two were won by head kicks and the other three by punches.   Would you say this would be your toughest fight to date? 


Johnston:  I look at every fight as being the toughest fight of my life. Yes Josh has more experience than my past opponents, but this doesn’t change how I train or how I go into a fight. I am very much looking forward to this fight it is a dream come true. I respect Josh and I am thankful he took the fight and it is a fight that will prove why I will be on the top.


Pattee Mak:  Tell me about your amateur days.


Johnston:  My amateur days were spent in Muay Thai. I am 3-0 with 2 KO’s. My first fight was the hardest fight I have ever had. I am 6″4′ and my opponent was 6″9′. I weighed at the time 230 and my opponent was 254. It was a three round battle. At the time we didn’t have to wear head gear and we wore 10 oz boxing gloves. This fight was in Revere [Massachusetts] at Club Lido and at the time there was no commission. I really enjoyed fighting Muay Thai but it was hard to find someone my size to fight so that’s why I switched to MMA.


Pattee Mak:  What style of fighting is your strengths and what do you think are your weaknesses if any?


Johnston:  Well it’s no secret that striking is my style. However, I am an all around fighter. My coaches have drilled everything into me over the years and I have been crushing my ground game for a long time. People always want to say, “Take me down and I am like a fish out of water”, well I can promise you that I can swim. Remember, this is MMA, not Jiu Jitsu. So if it goes to the ground we can play the whole grappling game, but I will tell you if I can see your face I will hit it with all my weapons, then just about when you think your safe I submit you.


Pattee Mak:  What weight do you normally weigh in at?


Johnston:  I don’t really have a weight that I hope to weigh in at. My weight can fluctuate from 250-257.


Pattee Mak:  You are fighting for the CES MMA Heavyweight title.  Are there any other belts that you have fought for or are looking to take?


Johnston:  Not really. I am focused on one fight at a time.


Pattee Mak:  Recently we chatted at another CES event but this time it was a boxing event.  Would you ever consider stepping into the squared circle and doing some standup fighting?


Johnston:  Sure I would. If it’s the right match up I would love to step in the squared circle.


Pattee Mak:  Are you selling any tickets for this event and if so, how can someone purchase them?


Johnston:  Yes I have tickets for sale. I’m currently selling the $40.00 tickets. You can hit me up on Facebook  or email me at  Also I would appreciate it if you could like my facebook page: .



Pattee Mak:  What would you like to tell your fans that will be coming out to cheer you on come the 14th?


Johnston:  First I would like to say thank you, it truly means a lot to me for all of your support. Walking out to that cage and hearing all the screams and cheers just gives me that much more to fight for. I cannot say enough to all my friends, family, teammates, and fans. You are all without a doubt a part of my success.  Second off, be ready for an awesome fight. I am coming out with all that I have and I am sure Josh is also.


Also scheduled to appear: Lightweight Luis Felix (10-7, 3 KOs), vs. Arizona’s Drew Fickett (42-20, 3 KOs); Middleweight Thomas Egan (7-4, 6 KOs) of Dorchester, Mass., vs.  Plymouth, Mass., Chip Moraza-Pollard (7-6, 4 KOs); Welterweight Chuck O’Neill (12-6, 4 KOs) of East Bridgewater, Mass., vs. Roger Carroll (13-10); Charles Rosa (6-0, 3 KOs) of Boynton Beach, Fla., vs. Philadelphia veteran Brylan Van Artsdalen (9-9, 1 KO);  Marshfield, Mass., featherweight Brendan Fleming (3-2) vs.  Baltimore’s Robert Sullivan (3-1); Featherweight Josh LaBerge (8-4, 3 KOs) of Fall River, Mass. vs. Philadelphia’s Steve McCabe (6-14, 5 KOs); and Welterweight Tommy Venticinque (0-1) of Warwick, R.I. vs. Rick Rivera of Springfield, Mass; Featherweight from Winthrop, Mass Kyle Bochniak (1-0) vs. Marius Enache (1-2) of Philadelphia.


Tickets for “CES MMA XXII” are on sale now at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at or or by phone at 401-724-2253/2254. All fights and fighters are subject to change.


CONTACT:  Facebook: Pattee Mak  Twitter: @PatteeMak.


Photo by CrossFace Productions.



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