The life of a Mixed Martial Artist is not easy. One moment you could be on top of the world, the next you’re wondering what the hell just happened. Johnny “Hollywood” Case, who’s been fighting for nearly 12 years, was one of the UFC’s up and coming stars until two losses derailed that momentum.
While many would dwell on the negatives, Case took this as that moment to take control of his life and career. We here at The GM’s Perspective had the pleasure of speaking with Case about his latest win, what drives him to succeed, and how roadblocks can shape people in to the champion they know they’ve always been.
The GM’s Perspective: First things first Johnny, congratulations on a superb performance at Rizin 14. Your opponent suffered a brutal eye injury, and you were successful with the TKO.
Johnny Hollywood Case: I’m so happy to be fighting for Rizin. It’s almost like learning a new fighting style with the rule set over in Japan. It really changes the game a lot. It lights a fire under your ass. I love fighting over there. They have some of the best MMA fans in the world. From the time I landed, people were asking for autographs and taking pictures. It was just an awesome experience.
GMs: You wrote something on FB that really stuck with me;
“Success isn’t just about winning or losing, it’s about having the courage and faith to stay the course when things don’t go as planned. It’s about chasing a dream and living a life necessary to achieve it.”
JHC: It was after getting a draw with Natan Schulte in the Professional Fighters League tournament. I didn’t advance, but it was a motivation tool for me. It wasn’t a step back, just a bump in the road. It’s a learning experience, but at the end of the day I’m still doing what I love. I still wake up every single day with a smile on face and try to choke out my friends! When your plans don’t work out the way you’d like, it’s still all good.
GMs: That brings me your current fighting status. A lot has changed over the past couple years. You are now with Rizin Fighting Federation (Lightweight Division) after spending the majority of your career with the UFC….
JHC: Getting cut from the UFC was a shocker. I felt I still had a lot of wins left in me. I was coming in to my own. Yes, I lost two in a row, but they were both close and one was even Fight of the Night. There was a time where I was throwing myself a pity party, but I realized I don’t have to fight for the UFC to be successful at this. There’s other places to go and other ways to make money. I tucked my chin in, kept plugging away, and training hard. Opportunities come from hard work. Just like before I got to the UFC. I was living on a dream. I had that dream and belief that one day it would all pay off.
GMs: Things change, the game changes. How do you stay current and evolve when there are so many people trying to take your spot?
JHC: It’s really easy for me. I’m passionate about my craft and I love the lifestyle. I love getting better and constantly evolving. It’s also big having the right people around to support you. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
GMs: You are one of a select few to be at the upper echelon of their chosen profession. What does that mean to you thinking about all that you’ve sacrificed to get where you are today?
JHC: It takes sacrifice. It’s been difficult being away from my family. But being a professional fighter has a short window. I’m trying to make as much money as I can and hopefully set up a better future for myself and my family when that window closes. I have to sacrifice now, but it’s setting me up for the best possible future.