After Win Over ‘Scared’ Melvin Guillard, Michael Johnson On The Hunt For A Title Shot

Although yesterday’s UFC Fight Night 37 from London, England was largely considered a success, there was one fight that proved to be a massive letdown. That fight was the evening’s Michael “Menace” Johnson vs. Melvin Guillard co-main event, a fight between two former teammates that failed to deliver on its trash talk-filled buildup.

Johnson won a one-sided unanimous decision by continually stalking a surprisingly passive Guillard, at times even goading the “Young Assassin” into trading blows with him. It was a strange scene, as the heavy-hitting Guillard is usually regarded as one of the lightweight’s division’s most aggressive strikers.

That was far from the case in London, however, as Guillard seemingly ran from Johnson’s vastly improved stand-up, prompting UFC President Dana White to blast “Young Assassin” at the post-fight press conference:

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“There’s no doubt Melvin ran the entire fight and was incredibly passive, the complete opposite of how he used to fight. There was a lot of smack talk leading up to that fight, and those are the fights that everybody gets excited about, and nine times out of 10 they end up like tonight. Those drive me crazy.”

White has an interesting point there, because fights backed by a lot of smack talk have failed to deliver in a big way recently. Obviously last year’s Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger fights come to mind. Regardless, “Menace” was angered by Guillard’s unwillingness to engage because he expected a dogfight:

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 “I’m a little pissed off that our fight was considered bad. I came in here wanting to fight and he was running and not engaging or anything. He was talking a lot of s— before the fight, and I expected him to do something, but instead he didn’t. I did think he was a little scared of me in this fight.”

Johnson may be frustrated, but the bout still left him on an impressive three-fight win streak, meaning that a top-level bout opponent should soon come his way. He recently campaigned for a bout with No. 7-ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov, but after his win yesterday, Johnson has his sights set much higher than the “Eagle”:

“I want somebody over him now. I want somebody that’s going to get me to a title, somebody that’s going to put me in a position where I can make a run for it.”

While you may have laughed at Johnson if he said that at this time last year, his game appears to have reached a new peak thanks to time spent training with Rashad Evans, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, and Tyrone Spong as a member of Florida’s Blackzilians team.

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His striking is at an elite level, so a fight with Nate Diaz would show just far he has come. Submissions have proved to be Johnson’s kryptonite, and Diaz is a highly skilled BJJ black belt.

Is the “Menace” ready for a Top 5 challenge like Diaz?

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea for USA TODAY Sports