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Former Dragons wrestler Johnson on new UFC video game, ready for fight in Brazil

UFC heavyweight Tim Johnson has an upcoming fight in Brazil. Eric Peterson / The Forum

FARGO—Tim Johnson is scheduled to fight Saturday, Feb. 3, at UFC Fight Night 125, which is being held in Belem, Brazil. The heavyweight is slated to be on the main card that will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

That fight isn't the only big mixed martial arts news this weekend for the former Minnesota State Moorhead wrestler. Johnson is also one of the 20 heavyweights on the EA Sports "UFC 3" video game that is being released on Friday, Feb. 2.

"I'm going to be immortalized forever," said Johnson, who trains out of Fargo. "No matter what happens, I'm going to be on the game."

The 32-year-old Johnson (11-4) is set to fight Brazilian Marcelo Golm (6-0) at UFC Fight Night 125 with the main card scheduled to start at 9 p.m. Saturday on FS1. Middleweights Lyoto Machida and Eryk Anders are headlining the main card.

The No. 15-ranked heavyweight in UFC, Johnson is coming off a loss against Junior Albini at UFC on Fox 25 last July. Johnson has a 3-3 record in the UFC.

"You can't lose to two prospects in a row. That's not good for business," said Johnson, from Lamberton, Minn. "(Golm) is young, athletic, in really good shape and has fast hands."

The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Johnson is one of the more than 200 fighters on the "UFC 3" video game. He has an 84 striking rating, 85 grappling rating, 86 stamina rating and 86 health rating on the video game for an 85.25 overall rating. Dylan Spicer, Johnson's coach who also owns the Academy of Combat Arts in Fargo, said it's cool to see one of his fighters on a video game.

"That's awesome," Spicer said. "We're probably going to get the UFC game for sure. What is cooler than to be able to play yourself on a video game? ... Being in the UFC is a pretty big deal in the first place. For them to put you in the video game, it's kind of cementing his legacy of being one of the best UFC fighters in the area."

While Johnson did most of his training for this fight in Fargo, he also spent a couple weeks at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas to help prepare for Saturday's fight. This will be the fourth time Johnson has fought out of the United States for a UFC event. He's previously fought in England, Northern Ireland and Croatia.

"It's definitely enjoyable to get a free trip to these places, but it takes a toll," Johnson said of the long travel.

Spicer said this is an important fight for Johnson after coming off his loss to Albini in July.

"You definitely don't want to drop two in a row in the UFC," Spicer said. "A win might bump him up and notch and give him a look at fighting someone within the top 10."

Since Golm, 25, has only six pro fights, Johnson said there isn't much footage to study on his opponent. Spicer said Johnson continues to improve with each training camp.

"Each camp I think he matures as a fighter," Spicer said. "He definitely understands his whole body and what his limits are."

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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