Michael Johnson Gearing Up For A Run At The Lightweight Title
Coming off his impressive knockout win over Gleison Tibau this weekend at UFC 168, Michael Johnson has his eyes set on the lightweight title. “The Menace” says he wants the belt “pretty soon”.
Blackzillian standout, Johnson, now has back to back wins in the lightweight division for the first time since October 2012. His current two fight win streak snapped a two fight losing streak for Johnson, after he suffered unexpected losses to Myles Jury and Reza Madadi respectively.
Prior to Johnson’s losses to Jury and Madadi, the TUF 12 standout was riding a three fight win streak and was looking like a possible title contender. His knockout over Tibau this Saturday put him one step closer to getting into title contention.
Johnson appeared on MMAjunkie Radio earlier this week where he spoke of his desire to capture the lightweight title after he was asked which Blackzillian fighter he thinks will win a UFC title first.
“The Menace” said he thinks Vitor Belfort will win the first UFC title for the camp, followed by maybe Rashad Evans but also said he’s making a run for a title of his own.
“I’m making my run for it. I want the belt, and I want it pretty soon. I’m going to keep winning fights to do it.”
Johnson sounds hungry to get the lightweight title and he certainly has the skills to pose a challenge to the divisions elite. But his inconsistent performances over Jury and Madadi leave doubts over him being a possible title contender.
“I come to fight, I train. Those losses don’t mean anything to me. They’re just lessons. You’re going to have to go through them. I might as well get through them early. Then when I’m at the top, those losses won’t happen. It’s better to lose early.”
Johnson looks like he has learned from his recent losses, as he rebounded from them with impressive wins over tougher competition. As for who’s next for the rising prospect? Johnson originally said he didn’t have a future opponent lined up and just wanted to fight someone in front of him in the rankings.
“I’m really not in the business of calling people out. I want anybody who is in front of me. If you’re in front of me, if you’re in a position in front of me, I want to fight you. Wherever I am in the rankings doesn’t matter. Put someone in front of me who leads to the title, and I’ll beat them.”
However, when Johnson was pushed for a possible future opponent “The Menace” revealed he would like to fight either Donald Cerrone or Nate Diaz next. Diaz is currently unbooked for his next fight after knocking out Gray Maynard at the TUF 18 Finale and Cerrone is set to fight later this month against Adriano Martins at UFC on Fox 10.
A fight with either man is possible but seems unlikely given their ranking in the UFC’s top ten, Cerrone ranking no.8 and Diaz ranking no.5. I would much prefer to see him fight someone like Jim Miller who is ranked a little lower down than Cerrone or Diaz and picked up an impressive win on Saturday also.
Seems like there are plenty of options for Johnson. Who would you like to see “The Menace” fight next? Do you think he is a possible title contender in the stacked lightweight division?