Johnny Case has been itching for a chance to crack the lightweight top 15 in the UFC, and when the opportunity came to travel to Australia to face Jake Matthews at this weekend's card in Brisbane, he jumped at the chance.
While many fighters avoid accepting bouts on far away cards, Case loves the chance to see the world and experience new places while fighting on the UFC's dime.
Case knows his opponent isn't really a step up in competition but it's still a paycheck, a chance to see Australia, and a bump up to the main card, which are all positives in his book.
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"Obviously after this fight being 5-0, I'd like to see something in the top 10 or 15, but this kid is a good, tough kid and I think he's a worthy opponent. I'm just really excited to go see some more of the world," Case told FOX Sports.
"I think he's kind of the same level of talent of the guys I've been fighting. I don't think he's any more dangerous than the cat I fought in Japan, Kazuki Tokudome, who is now the Pancrase champion, or any better than Yan Cabral, who is the last guy I fought. I think he's right in that same caliber of opponent. He's a tough kid but he's going to have a wake-up coming his way on the 19th."
While Case is well known for speaking his mind about his opponents, he says he isn't trash talking when he claims he didn't know anything about Matthews before the UFC called to offer him this fight.
As soon as he took the matchup, Case got the chance to look up Matthews online, and while he says he's not disparaging him for the sake of promotion, he's just not all that impressed.
"To be honest, I didn't even know about Jake Matthews before the offer came up," Case said. "I saw him with that fight with James Vick where he got submitted and Vick is a tough guy. I think he's towards the top of the better guys on the roster. But I didn't know much about him or the hype he had, but I'm ready to get in there and put on a show for the fans.
"I feel like he's pretty generic everywhere. He's not great anywhere. He's a strong kid, likes to fight with a bully style and make people break under his pressure. With me having 26 professional fights and him only having 10, the ball's in my court. I've got the experience. I've been in fights where things got tough and I got going. I feel like he's in for a rude awakening if he thinks he can bully me in this fight."
Case won't find out for certain what Matthews can offer until they meet in the Octagon on Saturday night, but judging by the level of competition they've faced in the UFC thus far, he's confident he's going to come out on top.
In Case's opinion, Matthews has taken on only one legit top lightweight, Vick, and he lost. Add to that the fact that Matthews is fighting at home with all his friends and family watching in Australia and Case knows the pressure is mounting.
"I'm 4-0 in the UFC and I've fought tough guys. Him, I think he's only really fought one tough guy," Case said. "The pressure should be on him. I've fought nothing but studs. He (expletive) should be scared. He should feel pressure. I'm going in there and I'm going to have fun and it's up to him to stop me."
After this fight, Case says, he's ready for a serious step up in competition because he wants to tackle the top 15 by the end of the year. Case is confident but he's not foolhardy enough to think that he'll just skate by on his way into the rankings.
Case has enough respect to acknowledge that the top 15 lightweights are all really, really good, but he believes he can beat each and every one of them.
"Oh (expletive) yeah. I know I can fight with anybody at any given time," Case said. "I'm also a realist in knowing in the fight game that anything can happen. When you're fighting good opponents, anything can happen. You can't take anything away from them.
"I know when I'm fighting at my best, I can beat anybody in the world."