Michael Johnson made a serious statement at UFC Fight Night 94 on Saturday night.
Following a nine-month hiatus, ‘The Menace’ returned to form with a first-round knockout of No. 7 ranked lightweight Dustin Poirier in the main event, scoring his first KO since 2013 against Gleison Tibau.
Johnson, who joins Conor McGregor as the second fighter to finish ‘The Diamond’ with strikes, is likely to break into the top-5 with the win and has already been targeted by former lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis.
@ufc I’ll take @FollowTheMenace Or @josealdojunior
— Anthony Pettis (@Showtimepettis) September 18, 2016
‘Showtime’, who made his featherweight debut after losing three straight in 2015/2016, submitted Charles Oliveira in the third round at UFC on FOX: Maia vs. Condit last month. Pettis catapulted to #6 in the official rankings, and there is already talk of him bypassing Max Holloway, who is on a 9-fight win streak, to challenge Jose Aldo for the interim 145-pound title.
For Johnson, whose entire UFC career has been contested at lightweight, the Ultimate Fighter Season 12 finalist wants the biggest fights available.
“After a win like this, I think I’ve got a little bit of a target on my back,” Johnson said after Saturday’s event,” per MMA Junkie. “ … I want to fight again before this year’s over with. I hadn’t fought since December, so that’s a huge layoff. In this sport, out of sight is out of mind. So I want to keep this train going, and I want to get paid.”
Prior to his win at UFC Hidalgo, the Blackzilians fighter lost to Nate Diaz via unanimous at UFC on FOX 17. Since his stint on The Ultimate Fighter, Johnson has emerged as a serious talent and holds wins over the likes of Tony Ferguson, Edson Barboza, and now Dustin Poirier. With another win, potentially against Pettis, Johnson could be in line for a shot at the lightweight belt.
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