With a 3-0 record since joining the promotion, highly touted lightweight prospect Johnny Case signed a new five-fight deal with the UFC this week while also booking his next appearance in the Octagon.
Case most recently appeared at UFC 188, where he overcame an early eye poke from his opponent to win by unanimous decision. The win moved Case to 11-0 in his last 11 fights as he embarks on a mission to conquer the world one country at a time.
For his next fight, Case will travel to Brazil for the UFC Fight Night card on Nov. 7 headlined by Dan Henderson against Vitor Belfort, airing live on FOX Sports 1. It's all part of the journey, according to Case, who wants to travel to exotic lands to fight local favorites and beat them.
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"Most of these fighters try to avoid fighting anywhere but within their country -- not me, I want to travel the world and take it over at the same time," Case told FOX Sports. "UFC, I assume, likes me for the simple fact I'm down to fight whoever, whenever and wherever.
"To me, It's basically a dream vacation I enjoy the whole time there on UFC's dime and I get to whoop a local's ass then fly back to the greatest country on planet Earth. What's there to not like about that?"
Case is still awaiting final confirmation on his opponent for Nov. 7, although he has an idea of the kind of matchup he's likely to receive while fighting in Brazil.
"It's the usual. Some Brazilian with a black belt that's going to be trying to grab me the whole time that I'll have to shut down with some good old Iowa wrestling and hard punches," Case said. "That's a given, though. I'm more excited to explore and soak up the culture."
Most recently, Case uprooted his training camp along with teammates such as Myles Jury and Michael Chandler to move to a new team at Power MMA & Fitness in Arizona. With fighters like Ryan Bader and C.B. Dollaway leading the way, Case sounds happy in his new surroundings as well as to be working with new head coach Aaron Simpson.
"I'm loving it here in and out of the gym, especially having my family with me now, too. It's the first time I've had full-time elite coaches in my career, and I'm making improvements like never before," Case said. "This move to Power MMA has been a blessing all the way around for me, and I couldn't be happier."
When Case signed with the UFC, he was already a blue-chip prospect, but with three quick wins in a row, the promotion moved quickly to snap him up for a longer-term contract. It was a welcome move said Case's manager, Ryan Hass, who was excited to see his client's talent was appreciated.
"UFC was happy to re-sign Johnny to a new five-fight deal that we're excited about. Everyone at UFC has been great to deal with in regards to Johnny," Hass said. "He just got to the point of finding his groove in UFC and soon expect him to be the next big thing. Between his talent, fighting style, work ethic and great attitude, this 26-year-old kid has it all.
"Johnny is super humble outside of UFC talk. He's just a great small town kid that works hard and puts everything he has into his career to reach his full potential. Now that everything is in place, this kid is about to open up and be the next household name."
According to Case, he learned a valuable lesson from one of his closest friends and teammates on the day he signed with the UFC. That friend was UFC featherweight Jeremy Stephens, and he's obviously taken his own advice considering he just competed in his 21st bout for the organization.
"One important thing my good friend Jeremy Stephens told me, 'If you give UFC a fight like the fans want to see, the UFC will always take care of you no matter what. You just gotta deliver,'" Case said. "That was music to my ears because that fits my fighting style perfectly, which is coined 'The Johnny Hollywood Show!'"
"I always give a dog fight with the highest entertainment possible. I just hate when I get stuck with a p---y that's all bark with no bite and avoid any engagement. Or gash my eye and force me to use my wrestling.
"But back on the topic, yeah, I got a new five-fight deal, and I'm very happy with it. UFC knows I'm here to deliver whenever, wherever and against whoever. So between this new contract and getting that 50K bonus in my debut that changed my life since I was flat broke, it looks like Stephens' words of wisdom are paying off already."