This past Saturday on the main card of UFC Vegas 73, we saw a battle between lightweight veterans. Former ranked contenders battled it out as Michael Johnson (21-19) took on Diego Ferreira (18-5). Both men were looking to inch their way back to the rankings.
Michael Johnson entered the bout coming off a decision win over Marc Diakiese back in December. Having gone 2-1 in his last three, he was looking to make a statement that could potentially net him a ranked opponent. However, he needed to get by the tough Diego Ferreira.
For the first six minutes of the fight, things were going very well for Michael Johnson. Honestly, it looked like a veteran performance from him. His speed looked great and he was defending the takedown attempt from Ferreira. It was turning into a kickboxing match which really favored him.
However, just under the two minute mark of the second round, Ferreira uncorked a massive right hand that knocked Johnson out cold. What was looking like a big time win in the making for Johnson, turned into a brutal nightmare at UFC Vegas 73.
The curious case of Michael Johnson after UFC Vegas 73
The loss on Saturday is just another in the long history of head scratching ones for Michael Johnson. Michael Johnson was the huge favorite to win The Ultimate Fighter on his season back in 2010. However, he was upset by Jonathan Brookins in the finale.
Following that, he had a 4-1 stretch inside the octagon which included a win over former interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson. He then lost two straight before going on another four-fight winning streak which included wins over Joe Lauzon and Edson Barboza.
However, after the Barboza win, he’s hit a stretch where he’s gone just 5-11 in sixteen fights. Granted, one of the wins was a knockout over former interim champion Dustin Poirier and some of the losses are to the best guys in the world like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Justin Gaethje, Nate Diaz, Beneil Dariush, and Josh Emmett at featherweight.
What’s puzzling about Johnson is the fact that he’s had so much success in many of those UFC losses. He has all the talent in the world to be one of the elites, but something always seems to go wrong for him in the biggest moments. Michael Johnson will always be a what if fighter to me.
On his best days, he’s one of the very best in the UFC. He’s proven that with some of the high moments he’s had in the octagon. However, he also has lost to guys he had no business losing to. A solid career, but a what if career at the end of the day.