Sporting fresh bruises around his face from a loss in his first Professional Fighters League bout, Jordan Johnson didn’t want to complain about scoring that ultimately took away his unbeaten professional record — even if he didn’t quite agree with it.
Entering PFL after a 4-0 run in the UFC, Johnson’s record dropped to 10-1 with a defeat to Maxim Grishin in a light heavyweight regular-season bout Thursday night at PFL 3 at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum.
Grishin won via unanimous decision with each judge scoring the bout, 29-28, and earned three points in the 205-pound standings.
“I’m not going to be that guy,” Johnson said. “Maybe it hasn’t completely hit me yet, but like I said, I’ve stood in front of cameras every time I won, I’m not going to be any different. I’m the same guy, I’m Jordan Johnson, win or lose. I gave it my all. Nothing to be ashamed about.
“Wish I would’ve hit the gas pedal a little harder. But I can’t go back, all I can do is go forward.”
Johnson controlled the cage for much of the bout and outstruck Grishin in all three rounds. Each judge awarded Johnson the first round, but gave Grishin the final two. The biggest shot of the fight came from Grishin in the closing minute of the final round when he knocked down Johnson with a clean shot to the jaw. But the former Division I wrestler quickly returned to his feet and continued until the bell.
“I want to give you my opinion but I want it to be clear I’m not complaining. I’ve won and I’ve stood in front of cameras. I’ve lost, they said, ‘You don’t have to do this,’ but I’m here,” Johnson said. “I think I definitely won the first and second rounds, for sure. I think I was winning the third round and I got rocked, even though I won four minutes of that. I get it, it’s combat sports, that’s a lot better, judges like that. In my opinion I won one, two and most of three. He got that knockdown, judges gave it to him. Again, it doesn’t matter what I think, I’m not salty about it.”
Johnson stayed patient in the first round, securing two takedowns and spending much of the round in a dominant position. As the fight went on, Johnson said he felt he was having success with his striking and moved away from his grappling game plan.
“We were planning on grinding him up, taking him down, a lot of cage wrestling,” Johnson. “I think I just felt really comfortable on the feet, I felt like I was doing a great job there, so I guess it did kind of change.”
After failing to come to a contract agreement following his unbeaten UFC run, Johnson came to PFL in hopes of securing the $1 million championship bonus. He’ll likely need to win, and may need a finish, later this summer in his second regular-season bout to reach the postseason and have a shot at the prize.
“I love that about the PFL, I have a date again. If this was a different organization and I just took this loss, that would be hard, I wouldn’t know when I’m going to go again,” Johnson said. “But I know when I’m up again here, and I’m going to give it my all.”