Johnson, who was selected for six Pro Bowls during his stellar NFL career, is a longtime combat sports fan who often appears at UFC events as a fan – and occasionally, a media member.
And he ticked an item off his bucket list by competing in his first boxing match as part of the undercard ahead of the Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul fight in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Johnson faced combat sports professional Brian Maxwell, who has competed with mixed results across boxing, mixed martial arts and bare-knuckle fighting.
And, despite conceding a sizeable experience advantage to his opponent, the man known to his legion of fans as “Ochocinco” put up a spirited display.
Competing over four 2-minute rounds, Johnson used his southpaw jab and lunging style to score repeatedly with jabs to the more compact, but more static, Maxwell across the first three rounds of the fight.
But in Round 4 Maxwell abandoned his more reserved approach and came out all guns blazing in an attempt to score a late stoppage.
And Johnson was in big trouble when Maxwell connected with a wild, looping right hook that caught the former NFL star as he looked to lean away from his opponent’s punches.
The shot sent Johnson crashing face-first into the mat as “Ochocinco’s” first taste of a competitive boxing match featured a first taste of the canvas.
But, to his credit, Johnson bounced back up and even offered a high-five to his opponent in acknowledgement of the shot as the referee issued a standing eight count.
Johnson survived the remainder of the round to take the fight the distance.
But, with the matchup run as an exhibition bout, no winner was announced as both fighters had their hands raised.
And, after the bout, Johnson thanked his opponent and Mayweather’s management for making his dream of competing a reality, before stating, “I think I’m ready for McGregor!”
Johnson and former two-division UFC champion McGregor have interacted before, with the former NFL star appearing at the UFC 246 pre-fight press conference to ask McGregor if he should bet on him for his fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, which the Irishman went on to win in just 40 seconds.
Now Johnson has jokingly suggested he should face McGregor next, with his light-hearted remark tempered by the fact that he’d stated that his fight with Maxwell would be a one-off.
“This is a one-time thing,” Johnson told SB Nation ahead of the fight.
“I’ve done some crazy things in life, and this is one to add and scratch off the bucket list.
“I’m coming in there to have fun and entertain.”