People of LoganJune 25, 2024 / 3 minute read

Championing life lessons from the cage

Ben Johnston has all the makings of a mixed martial arts (MMA) champion: powerful kicks, 85 kilograms of muscle and a recent win as the 2024 Eternal Middleweight Champion.

Nicknamed ‘The Blade’, Meadowbrook resident Ben is a former Muay Thai world champion and has trained with 2-time Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) Israel Adesanya.

Ben’s acrobatic, unbridled and explosive combat style belies a quiet resolve that has inspired many in the City of Logan and beyond.

His next goal is to enter the famed octagonal cage of the UFC stadium and compete with the best fighters from around the world.

‘It’d be huge to get into the UFC. I have put in everything I have to try to be on the same level as those guys,’ Ben says.

“Support from the Logan community has been unreal. Whenever I go to a fight show, the commentator always makes a note of how loud the people from Logan are.”

— Ben Johnston

He frequently travels between Australia and New Zealand to train with the likes of Israel Adesanya and fellow UFC contender Carlos Ulberg.

Ben can otherwise be found at his gym in Meadowbrook, The Fight Centre, where he’s also the head trainer.

His formula for success is simple: keep building on what you did yesterday, stick at it and the results always come.

The Fight Centre has become a breeding ground for go-getters that share a similar ethos.

‘I guess it’s corny but there are lot of life lessons to be learned in the sport,’ Ben says.

‘If you just want to be tough, you will get left behind.

‘You have to learn the skills, how to behave in a gym and improve your skill set so you can succeed in the sport and win fights.’

For the past 4 years, Ben has trained 4 hours every day and finishes up at the gym by 10:30 pm most nights.

It’s this intensity that is launching him into the upper echelons of the middleweight rankings.

Ben Johnston at the 2024 Eternal MMA competition. 

‘A lot of our gym members follow me as an example, so I feel like I should practise what I preach,’ he says.

‘If I’m injured or sick, I’m still at the gym even if I can’t train. I can still support them because if they’ve given up everything else and have chosen me to be their guide, it just wouldn’t be right if I wasn’t there.

‘A sense of community is important – you’ve got to enjoy where you spend all your time. I make sure The Fight Centre is a fun and happy place to be, otherwise people will get in their own way of success.’

‘We try to create champions so that everyone in the gym can see that they’re the same as the rest of us and that the secret to success is hard work.

‘If all our members can become role models for their own friends and family, we can affect an actual measurable percentage of the Logan population … crazy to think about the effect the gym can have.’

Ben has witnessed firsthand how a gym like his can transform the lives of young people.

‘You see their confidence grow and we often get parents saying that their child is a whole different kid after 6 months in the gym,’ he says.

‘There’s a lot of talent in Logan – there are just stars ready to be made.’

Learn more about The Fight Centre and follow Ben’s journey on Instagram.

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