Miles Johns feels he has what it takes to succeed in the extremely competitive field of mixed martial arts.
After competing in the sport for about five years, the last three as a professional, Johns compiled a 9-0 record and earned a spot on the main roster of the UFC, one of the prime federations in the sport.
Johns is a 2012 Newton High School graduate. He won a Class 5A state wrestling title in 2012 at 145 pounds, helping lead the Railers to a second-place team finish. He was second at state at 135 pounds as a junior.
He wrestled a year at Newman University.
“I’ve been wrestling for my whole life,” Johns said. “I’ve also competed in boxing. I love combat sports. I’m really excited to be a part of a national program in MMA.”
Johns said he’s “working up the rankings.”
His amateur debut came in 2013. His final amateur fight was a unanimous victory over Reace Young at Rock N Rage in Bonner Springs.
He pro debut came in July of 2014, scoring a second-round knockout of Tyler Pacheco in Midland, Texas. He won two bouts for the Xtreme Knockout promotion, then five for the Legacy Fighting Alliance.
His last LFA fight was winning a split decision over Adrian Yanez in a nationally-televised, main-event bout Nov. 20, 2018 in Dallas. The win gave him the LFA Bantamweight (135 pounds) title.
His big break came on July 25, when he scored a unanimous decision over Richie Santiago in Las Vegas as part of the Dana White Contender Series (White is the CEO of UFC). The match was televised on ESPN+.
“The Dana White Contender Series is held in a small venue,” Johns said. “I was only allowed to have five guests, including my wife. You fight in front of White, along with other promoters and bookers. There are guys who win matches there and still don’t get a (UFC) contract. You really have to be on top of your game there.”
Johns said “it will take some wins” before he can reach the point of being a championship contender.
“I want to be a UFC champion,” Johns said. “It’s really going to take a lot of work and you have to have a lot of focus. It takes a lot of self discipline. It also takes a lot of patience. There are a lot of fighters who get frustrated with all the time it takes, and give up too soon.”
Johns said he had “so many mentors” growing up.
“One of my biggest was (NHS assistant) coach J.J. Thaw,” Johns said. “He really pushed me. He passed away a couple of years ago, but I feel like he’s out there with me every time I go out there. Like I said, there have been so many. Right now, my coach Sayif Saud, has been with me all of my pro fights. All my teammates have been important to me.”
Johns fights out of Fortis MMA in Dallas. He fights under the nickname “Chapo.”
Johns competes in a sport known for its unpredictability. MMA combines the disciplines of boxing, wrestling and a myriad of martial arts styles.
Matches are three to five rounds (five rounds for title bouts) of up to five minutes. Judging is similar to that of boxing, where fighters are scored on successfully completed strikes, throws and takedowns. Matches are determined by judges decisions (which can be split or unanimous) as well as knockouts, technical knockouts or submission (known as tap-outs).
“It’s just a matter of focus,” Johns said. “Even the best guys can get beat. It starts in the gym, but you have to be able to focus in the cage. Even when you are down, you can still find a weakness and take advantage of it for a win.”
Johns said he doesn’t know when he’ll be fighting again, but hopes it will be in the next few months. He said he’d love to have a match in Wichita, where the UFC held a card in March.
“I do have to give a shout out to my wife Hannah,” Johns said. “She has given me a lot of support and has let me devote a lot of time to training. She’s under a lot of stress too when I fight. I also get a lot of support from my boys Major and Madden. Family is the reason why I do this and my family is very important to me.”