Michael Johnson enters UFC Vegas 18 with his back very clearly against the wall. And yet despite a three-fight losing streak heading into a scrap with veteran Clay Guida, “The Menace” sounds very… upbeat?
Asked about fighting veteran Guida, Johnson told Cageside Press during the UFC Vegas 18 virtual media day that “the only thing that feels different right now is my mindset. Now I’m in a completely different mindset. I’m going into this fight nice and relaxed and refreshed. And I’m excited to fight.”
Guida, he said, is “a great guy. I’ve always said he’s a pioneer in the sport, future Hall of Famer in my book, and I’m excited to get to share some hands.”
Of course, none of that means Johnson is any less motivated to throw those hands, and get back in the win column. As to what gets him there, “I’ve gotten faster, I’ve gotten stronger, my footwork has gotten better,’ said Johnson. “And I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to win.”
Johnson also has something to prove. “I gotta prove that I’m still capable of becoming a world champion. You know, that’s what it is,” he stated. “I’m finally growing in my mind. And now that’s been a huge thing, a huge change for me over this past year. And like I’ve said, before, maybe early in my career, I wasn’t mentally ready to become a world champion. But now I am. So I have to go in this fight and prove to myself and prove to everyone else that I still have that capability of becoming that.”
Michael Johnson meets Clay Guida on the main card at UFC Vegas 18 this Saturday, February 6 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.