Local MMA: Johnson enjoys success in the UFC

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Life is good for DaMarques Johnson.

After years of hard work, the mixed martial artist and native of Kearns is enjoying success at the highest level in the sport.

"I really can't complain much," DaMarques said Sunday during a live appearance on KSL's SportsBeat Sunday. "I'm just chasing a dream and lucky enough to succeed at it, I mean, who can complain about that."

Johnson just returned from competing in UFC 112 where he defeated Brad Blackburn with a third round TKO. It was his second UFC victory.

"Brad's skill set definitely made for an exciting fight with my skill set. It was definitely a fun fight to watch."

It was a fight Johnson almost lost. He found himself facing defeat after two rounds but that would change in round three. He came out much more aggressive and after a reversal he landed a vicious elbow to Blackburn's forehead that led to the fight being called on strikes.

"He didn't want to play no more after that," Johnson said. "Once that elbow landed I felt the whole tide of the fight turn."

The fantastic finish earned Johnson the "Knockout of the Night" and a $75,000 bonus. At UFC 107 he earned the "Submission of the Night" bonus after defeating Edgar Garcia.

Johnson gives credit for his success to the training he receives. His mixed martial arts experience began in the military. During his 8 years of active duty in the United States Army, he took up Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. When he returned to Utah he met MMA legend Jeremy Horn who now lives in Utah and owns Elite Performance Gym in Sandy. Horn saw something special in DaMarques and helped him develop into the fighter he is today.

"Training with guys like Jeremy Horn and Matt Pena, those guys have made me what I am, both skill wise and developing mentally as a fighter."

Johnson remains humble and gives credit to the many people who have supported him along the way.

"I'm blessed to be training with the people I'm training with and surrounded with the people, the family and the friends that I have"

He also believes that he won't be the last fighter from Utah to make it to UFC. He believes the talent pool is strong and the sport will continue to grow in the state.

"Utah's full of talent," he said. "There are a lot of good guys in Utah as far as the whole fight scene goes."

DaMarques expects his next UFC fight to happen in about four to six months. It's possible it could take place in Salt Lake City.

There are rumblings that UFC 117 might happen in August at EnergySolutions Arena. According to several reports, the UFC has requested Energy Solutions Arena save Aug. 7 for a potential event.

That would present a unique opportunity for Johnson and all his friends, family and supporters.

"For them to actually come to a live UFC event and have them watch me do my thing that would be a great experience. I'd love that."

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Jeremiah Jensen


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