Michael Johnson wants a title shot after beating Benson Henderson
With a four fight win streak and a main event matchup coming soon with a former lightweight champion, UFC contender Michael Johnson is eyeing a title shot after his next bout in July.
Johnson, a former "Ultimate Fighter" finalist, has come into his own over the last two years while racking up a series of big wins, including victories over Joe Lauzon, Gleison Tibau and most recently Edson Barboza.
Even more impressively, Johnson has virtually walked through all four of his recent opponents, which earned him a fight against former lightweight champion Benson Henderson at the "Ultimate Fighter" finale on July 12.
A win would put Johnson directly in the crosshairs of a potential title shot with only Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone potentially standing in his way on the list of contenders who are on a winning streak and not sidelined due to injury.
"I can definitely see that and that’s the plan," Johnson told FOX Sports about fighting for the belt after his fight with Henderson. "Go in here and get a decisive victory, whether it’s a knockout or a decision, just a dominant performance and that puts me right there for a title shot where I feel like I do deserve it after that point. Everything’s right on schedule for me."
Go in here and get a decisive victory, whether it’s a knockout or a decision, just a dominant performance and that puts me right there for a title shot where I feel like I do deserve it
— Michael Johnson
Beyond Johnson’s impressive streak, he also believes it’s time for the lightweight division to get shaken up a little bit with some fresh new faces decorating the landscape of the top contenders.
Johnson is currently ranked No. 5 in the UFC and the four people in front of him include Gilbert Melendez, who has already fought for the title twice — Cerrone, who lost his last bid to earn a title shot as well as already losing to the current champion, Rafael dos Anjos — Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is out for the next six to nine months with a knee injury — and Anthony Pettis, who just lost the title in his last bout.
Johnson says it doesn’t take long to sort out the reasons why he would be the perfect choice to face dos Anjos should he get past Henderson in July.
"I feel it’s definitely my time. I’ve put in the work, I’ve stayed patient and now it’s time to really beat the who’s who and get up to the top of this division. It’s time for some new faces," Johnson said. "It’s definitely my year, my time to go get it."
If the wins aren’t enough, Johnson says to just look at the way he’s beating his opponents to understand how he’s separating himself from the rest of the division.
He tore Lauzon apart in his hometown of Boston. Johnson snuffed Tibau, who is a 25-fight UFC veteran, before taking out Barboza in his home country of Brazil with a one-sided performance over one of the most lethal knockout artists on the roster.
Johnson believes he can do the same thing to Henderson and then there should be no question about the person most deserving of a UFC lightweight title shot.
"I’m definitely confident in the skills that I have. My coaches have put in plenty of time with me and I’ve put in plenty of time on the mats. I look to go in my fights and dominate. I’ve been telling people for the past few years — I’m not looking to compete in this sport. I’m looking to dominate," Johnson said.
"To go into every fight and show these guys that I’m going to beat you in every aspect of the game and make it look like you don’t belong in the cage with me. That’s a goal of mine."