Michael Johnson answered the call when opportunity came knocking ahead of UFC Moncton, and has a short-notice win over Artem Lobov to show for it. And despite a bit of a setback at the scales before the fight, he’s in a good spot to pick up a big fight moving forward.
Moncton, NB — Stepping in on two weeks notice to face Artem Lobov in the co-main event of UFC Moncton, featherweight Michael Johnson had a big opportunity. Despite missing weight by a single pound (a flub that won’t cost him too much in terms of status, given the short turnaround), he made the most of that opportunity Saturday. In a fun back-and-forth battle, Johnson slowly pulled away from the Russian, scoring a takedown later in the third to seal the deal.
Following the bout, ‘The Menace,’ who wants to get back in the cage as soon as December, addressed the media, covering his weight cut, callouts, and what comes next.
“I was thirty pounds a week ago, before the fight was announced. Before I accepted it,” Johnson (19–13) said of his starting point for shedding pounds before hitting the scales on Friday. “I got very close. We’re used to an hour afterward to make that weight. I tried my hardest to get down in the allotted time we had, and I was a pound short.”
Johnson admitted that he was “a little upset that I didn’t get that customary hour extra, because I would have easily got it.” Unfortunately, he was “at a point in my cut where my body just stopped sweating for about twenty-five minutes. Then once I got it worked up again, I looked up at my nutritionist and my team, I was like ‘man we gotta go weigh in now, we’re the last ones to the scale.’ I just had to take that hit and come in a pound over I guess.”
Despite the miss, Lobov previously told reporters including Cageside Press that he’ll return Johnson’s twenty-percent fine for missing weight, since ‘The Menace’ stepped in on short notice. We’ll find out soon enough if that does in fact happen, Johnson said following UFC Moncton. “Apparently the commission has to take it out and give it to him. So we’ll see if he’s a man of his word, like he said, and he’ll give it back,” the American explained. “My management team is going to get with his management team, and we’ll see what happens.”
Asked if he was surprised that the commission wouldn’t give him the extra hour to shed the final pound, Johnson explained that “I found out about ten minutes before I actually had to go back downstairs that I wasn’t getting my hour. I tried, like I said I tried. My body reacted a certain way.”
Since dropping to 145lbs from lightweight, Johnson has made the analogy of bricks being on his chest, in terms of pressure. His last win, he moved them off an inch. This time, against Lobov, “an inch more. Every win is just going to be an inch, an inch. Until I’m sitting at the top of these two divisions, and I have a title around my waist,” he outlined. “Other than that, the bricks will stay on. I have no problem with keeping them on my chest at all. I fight the best when I have pressure on me. And I need wins. It’s wins from here on out. This is a different Michael Johnson. I’m going to stay focused for fifteen minutes, and I’m getting right back to training. We’re going to definitely make some noise again.”
Who that noise will come against remains to be seen. He wants to go again in December, and the Adelaide card in Australia is appealing, though he’s open to any date that month. There’s no specific opponent on the radar though. “Nobody in mind. I just want to fight. I’m here to fight.”
“I’m done calling people out,” said Johnson. “I’m not one of these new guys that just came into the UFC that needs to make a name for themselves and call people out. I’m a veteran. I’ve grown out of that aspect and making a big wave over that. I’m a little past that. The UFC knows the type of fighter I am. Other fighters know the type of fighter I am, and we’re going to look for big fights.”