Michael Johnson Gearing Up For A Run At The Lightweight Title

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?

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  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Dabs Dabs

    Sounds about right…

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/D D

    Vitor will lose to Weidman, Rashad actually does have a chance to win a title but only if he decides to drop to 185, and Michael Johnson has absolutely no chance. There's just too many guys at 155 who are much better.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/TheXperience TheXperience

    I like those matchups… Johnson is a beast! I always expected great things from him and he's really starting to put things together now…

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      Yeah, he's really turned it around in his last two fights and he looked amazing in his 168 fight. Personally, I think he should have gotten KOTN over Browne.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/TheXperience TheXperience

        Yeah for sure…

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/IGMBurninPiff IGMBurninPiff

      I've liked the menace since the show, knew he'd need to drop weight and gain speed and cardio to go anywhere which he's done perfectly. His last 2 fights were impressive I just don't see him being even close to the top still. He's young, has a good wrestling base and great training partners so who knows but I don't think he will ever be top 3. Sux because I like him but I just see to many people still far ahead of him. top 5 would be hard to put him for me.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Ivy Ivy

    He hasn't beaten anyone in the top 10 yet. I think he's improved a lot too, but until he gets at least 1 top 10, and then 1 top 5 victory he isn't anywhere near worthy of a title shot. Personally I think he ends up as another perennial gatekeeper for awhile.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/TheXperience TheXperience

      Beating Tibau, especially the way he did is a big deal. They're probably gonna give him chance now to prove where he's really at… top 10 for sure…

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/IGMBurninPiff IGMBurninPiff

      J Lau is a big fight, and Tibau is a big fight when you look at how he finished, especially overcoming being so hurt in the J Lau fight. Showed alot about him. Got to start your streak some where. I don't know where he could have started better. Now it's time for a top 10 maybe 8-10 somewhere then with a win maybe a 4-6. Like I'd said above I just don't know even with the time put in if I'll ever see him as a top 5 LW. So I'd assume he'd lose the 4-6 fight.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/PukeVomit PukeVomit

    he's to cool to cheer.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Metatron Metatron

    Damn, Buster. You the man! Great article. You really captured Michael's attitude.