“I was worried when I got into the ambulance. I asked the guy if it was gonna be OK, and he was like, ‘I don’t know. It doesn’t look too good.’” And I thought, if it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go,” he said. “I just prayed to God up until surgery. They told me after surgery I might have to have a colostomy bag on my thigh, and I’m like, ‘Whatever you got to do to keep me alive.’ I lost like three-quarters of my blood. They stopped operating on me and continued the next day, and just left me open through the night. They spliced my intestines in six different spots. My colon was damaged, and they took out my appendix. I still have a bullet in my forearm. It’s just deep in there, and they don’t want to damage any nerves. It doesn’t hurt.”
Normally a solid 250 pounds in fighting trim, the powerfully built fighter with the nickname “Big” lost 30 pounds recovering in the hospital. He’s back to 230 and hoping to return, building on a career that had just started to take off before the shooting.
“I’m already jogging. As soon as I’m in shape and get released from the doctors, I think I’m going to get licensed. I’m pushing the issue,” he said. “And looking to get back in there.”
“Looking to get back in there” is an understatement, given the prowess Johnson’s shown. While heavyweights in mixed martial arts run the gamut from overpowering wrestlers to jiu-jitsu stylists, “Big” has a slugger’s mindset, equipped with the tools to produce highlight-reel exchanges. Johnson doesn’t come out looking to play the takedown game and work for submissions -- he’s there to bang, and with powerful hands and an explosive delivery, the Strikeforce heavyweight division could get pretty exciting once he returns, given a clean bill of health.
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