It was announced on Tuesday that 24-year-old Welsh bantamweight Brett Johns had been signed to a UFC contract and that he will make his promotional debut on November 19th at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Johns, who is undefeated in twelve fights as a professional, will face fellow unbeaten UFC newcomer Kwan Ho Kwak (9-0) of South Korea at the UFC Fight Night 99 event.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) November 1, 2016
Not long after it was made official, Johns’ manager Brian Butler-Au posted two videos to Instagram which show the fighter’s emotional response to learning the news.
It truly is wonderful footage.
:::MUST WATCH::: (Part 1) One of the most rewarding things in my job is when we get to take part in moments like this. We have all heard the stories of fighters doing that grind and sleeping on the floor of the gym. Yes sleeping on the floor of his unheated gym through winters is a part of @brettjohnsmma’s story, and it would be cool to say it was all for “the grind” but it was also a necessity due to the economy. His drive and his energy to keep himself and his team motivated through these hard times is what shows his true heart. Coming from a small village in Wales were opportunities were limited Brett has managed to put together a 12-0 undefeated record making him one of the top prospects in the UK. This video shows the emotions that came to a head when I called to to tell him we got the call. It could not have come at a more needed time. I am excited to announce Brett will make his UFC debut in Belfast Ireland on Nov 19th! #represented #ufcbelfast
A video posted by Brian Butler-Au (@suckerpunchent) on
Campaigning outside the UFC, Johns won gold in both the Cage Warriors promotion and, more recently, the US-based Titan FC. However, he hasn’t fought since July of last year, when he picked up a split decision victory over Anthony Gutierrez in Kansas City. Johns had been penciled in to face Ricky Simon at Titan FC 37 in March, but he was forced to withdraw through injury(via Tapology).
His upcoming opponent, 27-year-old Kwan Ho Kwak, also held titles in two promotions prior to getting the call up to the big leagues. In August of last year, he picked up the vacant Top FC bantamweight strap and in January of this year he won the PXC title. His latest victory came against Turkey’s Alp Ozkilic, who had gone 1-3 during a 4-fight stint with the UFC between December 2013 and May of 2015.
UFC Belfast is headlined by a middleweight rematch between Gegard Mousasi and Uriah Hall.