As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word. TUF Veteran, DaMarques "Darkness" Johnson has been fighting professionally since 2005 and was recently scheduled to fight Clay Harvison at UFC Fight Night 25 before being pulled from the card due to injury. DaMarques recently agreed to participate in a Q&A with MMAPlayground. The transcript can be found below.
* * * * *MMAPG:
Thank you for agreeing to do this interview, DaMarques. How’s the injury rehab coming along?JOHNSON:
My back is getting better. There’s a lot of mileage on my back between my years of jumping out of planes in the military, but it’s coming along well. MMAPG:
Seth Baczynski recently stepped in as your replacement against Clay Harvison at Battle on the Bayou. Things didn’t go so well for your original opponent (Harvison) as Baczynski choked him out in the 2nd round. Is a fight with Harvison one that you’re still interested in or is there someone else you have in mind? Baczynski, perhaps?JOHNSON:
Seth is an awesome guy and I can’t think of a win in the UFC going to anyone more deserving. Picking my fights is Lerenzo’s and Monte's job. I would love to make good on the fight with Clay, though.MMAPG:
Going back to the time you spent on the Ultimate Fighter, what benefits did you reap from your time spent training with Dan Henderson and his coaching staff? Do you feel that any specific area(s) of your game improved dramatically as a result of the training you received?JOHNSON:
Dan helped me in a lot of ways; more so in a sense of the mental toughness. From a technical aspect, a lot of his GNP (ground and pound) theory I try to apply.MMAPG:
Do you still talk to any of the guys that you shared the house with? JOHNSON:
I haven’t in a while. Sometimes we chat it up on twitter but, other than that, not so much.MMAPG:
What about Michael Bisping? There seems to be a lot of hate for the guy amongst a good portion of MMA fans and even some fighters. The two of you weren’t exactly the best of friends throughout the course of the show. Where do you stand now? Has your beef with each other been squashed?JOHNSON:
Dude, what are you talkin’ about? We are pretty much super best friends (grinning from ear to ear). Honestly, there is no beef between me and Bisping. That was 3 years ago. We both have more important things to tend to. I doubt I’m even a blip on his radar. MMAPG:
Where are you training these days and who are you training with? JOHNSON:
I have been traveling a lot and learning lots from people far better than me. I just came back from a camp with BJ Penn, Matt Hughes, Jeremy Horn, Robbie Lawler, Matt Pena and Pat Militech. I worked with Ryan Bader, CB (Dolloway), Aaron Simpson, and yes Seth B., and the rest of the fellas down at PowerMMA in Arizona. And some ground stuff with Jeff Glover out in Santa Barbara.MMAPG:
How did you end up there?JOHNSON:
By seeking out the knowledge and meeting the guys when I have been around. I love our game and I’m always trying to get better at it. MMAPG:
What lead you to get involved in mixed martial arts in the first place?JOHNSON:
God strategically placing pockets of suck and nuggets of awesome in my life. MMAPG:
What would it take for you to accept a fight against one of your teammates? Quite a few fighters have the stance that fighting a teammate is out of the question. Would you say that’s the case with you, as well?JOHNSON:
Personally, I think it’s much like a fist fight with your brothers. You would have done it for free before when you got pissed. So why not get paid? At the end of the day, it is just a fist fight. Dana isn’t taking the losers out back and shooting them in the face...MMAPG:
Would you consider yourself to be a fan of any particular fighter (or fighters)? Who do you enjoy watching the most?JOHNSON:
I’m just like you guys. I love watching guys bring it and guys who are technically skilled. BJ Penn, Robbie Lawler, Evan Dunham, Martin Kampmann, Nick Diaz…MMAPG:
Which win on your resume would you call the most satisfying?JOHNSON:
Good question. It’s hard to say because you take away a lot from each fight win or lose. If it’s which win…I would say Ray Elbe because I was the unknown and he was the tough guy that was supposed to be some kind of killer when we were fighting to get into the house.MMAPG:
Is there any particular reason why?JOHNSON:
Because that is when I actually started to believe a little bit that I was actually kind of good at this. MMAPG:
If you could only pick one loss to avenge, which one would it be and why?JOHNSON:
Honestly, every ass whippin’ I have taken, I pretty much had coming. They were better that day. I’m not a huge rematch guy but two that I would take in a heartbeat, if they were offered? James Wilks and Amir Sadollah. I know I didn’t present the best version of myself that could have been presented against those guys. MMAPG:
Finally, how do you want to be remembered as a mixed martial artist? How do you want a young DaMarques Johnson fan to describe you when he talks about his favorite fighters of all-time?JOHNSON:
As a guy who comes to fight; a fighter that puts on entertaining and technical shows. MMAPG:
Thanks again for taking time from your day for this interview, DaMarques. We look forward to seeing you back in the octagon once the injury heals. Do you have any final thoughts or comments?JOHNSON:
Peace, love and hair grease! I’m out!
* * * * **NOTE:
DaMarques has recently announced that his next opponent will be Clay "Heavy Metal" Harvison at UFC on FOX on November 12th.Follow @DaMarques_UFC on TwitterDaMarques "Darkness" Johnson on Sherdog.com DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.