MMA Today: DaMarques Johnson goes for autograph, gets career

Apr 13 2012 - 5:09pm

A simple autograph request forever altered the life of DaMarques Johnson.

A veteran of the Army and National Guard, Johnson attended a mixed martial arts contest to watch a friend compete. At the event, Johnson approached MMA veteran Jeremy Horn for an autograph. The two struck up a conversation, and Johnson soon began to train at Horn's gym.

Johnson turned professional in 2005 and lost to his first two rivals, Paul Purcell and Brock Larson. Johnson rebounded to win 12 of his next 16 fights. He begrudgingly accepted a spot in The Ultimate Fighter's ninth season.

"I didn't really want to do it," he said. "I was like, 'I just like fighting. It's not about being on TV or whatever.' ... It worked out. I'm glad I did it."

Johnson advanced to the finale, where he lost to James Wilks. His performance was still good enough to earn him a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The 29-year-old Utah native stood out in his next two fights -- "submission of the night" over Edgar Garcia at UFC 107 and "knockout of the night" over Brad Blackburn at UFC 112.

Johnson had mixed results in his last four fights -- losses to Amir Sadollah and Matt Riddle and victories over Clay Harvison and Mike Guymon.

Saturday afternoon, Johnson will attempt to win his fifth UFC bout when he faces John Maguire during the main card of UFC on Fuel 2. The event, which will take place at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, will air live on Fuel TV at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT.

Maguire, a 28-year old native of England with a 17-3 record, defeated Justin Roberts in his UFC debut in November.

"I expect him to be a tough, skilled opponent," Johnson said. "That's about all I have put thought into it. I'm sure he's a tough guy. He has a good record. He's got good skills from what I've heard."

A light heavyweight bout between Sweden's Alexander Gustafsson and Brazil's Thiago Silva headline the event. The main card also includes middleweights Brian Stann vs. Alessio Sakara, welterweights Paulo Thiago vs. Siyar Bahadurzada, featherweights Dennis Siver vs. Diego Nunes and bantamweights Brad Pickett vs. Damacio Page.

The preliminaries, which can be seen live on at www.facebook/com/UFC at noon EDT/9 a.m. PDT, include: welterweights Papy Abedi vs. James Head; middleweights Francis Carmont vs. Magnus Cedenblad; lightweights Reza Madadi vs. Yoislandy Izquierdo; welterweights Simeon Thoresen vs. Besam Yousef; and featherweights Jason Young vs. Eric Wisely. The UFC will announce the start time

-- Bellator bantamweight champion Zack Makovsky will defend his title in the main event of Bellator 65 on Friday night against Season Five tournament winner Eduardo Dantas (13-2). The event at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., will air live on MTV2 and EPIX at 8 p.m. EDT and on tape delay at 8 p.m. PDT.

Makovsky, who won Season Three bantamweight tournament to win the promotion's first title in the weight class, makes his first defense. Makovsky (14-2) previously defeated Chad Robichaux and Ryan Roberts in non-title matches after he won his championship.

Mike Corey will fight Daniel Strauss in a featherweight tournament semifinal match. The card will also feature two bantamweight quarterfinal fights in Alexis Vila vs. Luis Nogueira and Ed West vs. Marcos Galvao. Former welterweight champion Lyman Good will fight LeVon Maynard.

Preliminary bouts, which can be seen live on at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT and continue at 10 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. PDT, include: featherweights Kenny Foster vs. Jay Haas; middleweights Duane Bastress vs. Plinio Cruz; featherweights Scott Heckman vs. Lester Caslow; featherweights Andy Main vs. Will Martinez; lightweights Emanuel Brooks vs. Mikhail Malyutin; welterweights Ailton Barbosa vs. Kris McCray.

-- The UFC 146 main event showdown between heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem is in jeopardy after Overeem failed a drug test last week.

Overeem's testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio exceeded the legal ratio of 6-to-1.

Overeem can have a second sample tested. If approved, he can petition the state of Nevada for a license for the May 26 bout.

UFC president Dana White said dos Santos will defend the title at UFC 146, either against Overeem or another heavyweight.

-- This week's fight on The Ultimate Fighter Live will match Joe Proctor against Chris Tickle.

TUF can be seen live every Friday at 10 p.m. EDT and at 10 p.m. PDT on FX.

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