Shane Roller is in a must-win situation. | Photo:
Roller’s back is against the wall.
After losing two straight in the Octagon, he might not keep his job
if he loses again Saturday against Michael
Johnson at UFC
on Fox 2.
That doesn’t mean he’s putting any additional pressure on himself,
“I’m taking the same approach I always do when I get in the
Octagon,” Roller told the Sherdog
Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “It’s a must-win every time.
I’m prepared just like I always am and I’m ready to go.”
Roller hasn’t had much time to prepare for the bout. He said he got
the call to replace an injured Cody
McKenzie on roughly three weeks’ notice.
“It’s like cramming for a final,” Roller said. “I had to cram
everything in real quick because I took the fight on short notice,
but I’m ready. I’m looking forward to it.”
After losing via submission to T.J. Grant in
October, Roller had chips removed from his elbow and took about
four weeks off. He was back in training when the UFC called, but he
wasn’t exactly in fighting shape.
“I was in the gym every day, but not quite as intense and my diet
wasn’t the same as what it is during a training camp,” he said. “So
my weight was a little heavy and I wasn’t in the best of shape, but
I’m able to be close enough to take a fight like this.”
Johnson also suffered a loss in October, submitting to Paul Sass via
heel hook. He’s had mixed success in the UFC, but Roller is
complimentary of his game.
“He has some good wrestling and has some power in his hands,”
Roller said. “He’s dropped a few people. Just like any fight,
you’ve got to be ready to get in there and be ready to go in any
situation. If it goes to the ground, I’ve got to use my wrestling,
my jiu-jitsu, and if it’s a standup war, then I’m ready to throw
bombs and try to get a knockout.”
On paper, Roller is certainly the superior wrestler. He was a
three-time All-American at Oklahoma State University, but he’s not
necessarily planning on taking Johnson down.
“I can see it going two ways,” Roller said. “We’ve got two
wrestlers. A lot of times that ends as just a standup war. He’s a
good athlete and pretty good at defending takedowns. I’m not dead
set on just going in there and trying to wrestle. I want to use my
hands and set things up and go for a knockout. I know I’ve got
power in my hands. I hurt a lot of people. In almost every fight I
fight, there’s one or two punches where I catch them good. I’ve got
to utilize that, and if the opportunity’s there, I will take a shot
and try to get it to the ground.”
Listen to the full
interview (beginning at 1:25:25).