Las Vegas, NV — Michael Johnson picked up a much-needed win at UFC Vegas 54, but he was in a dark hole for a while.
On the verge of getting cut, Johnson came up big, knocking out Alan Patrick in the second round of their fight. The win snapped Johnson’s four-fight losing streak, the longest of his career. The knockout win over Patrick was one of the better moments in Johnson’s career.
“It felt great. Honestly, I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’ve had a lot of big wins; I’ve had a lot of upsets or devastating losses. But that was one of the better moments of life just because I was in such a dark hole and went through so much to get to this point,” Johnson told Cageside Press during his post-fight interview. “A year and a half layoff being broke, trying to figure out things. It feels good. I felt really good this week, and it showed; I had fun tonight.”
Johnson would expand on how he got into such a dark place.
“When you’re almost at the top or at the top, and then you’re just reduced to nothing. I mean, it feels terrible, you know, it feels like sh*t, especially being an athlete. We’re all considered alpha males, and we’re like the best of the best. And then you’re sitting back, realizing you’re not the best of the best,” Johnson said. “You just lost four in a row, something’s going wrong, you end up being alone because your phone’s not ringing as much, you’re not hanging out with people, people are kind of turning their backs to you, which is a good thing at this point.”
“So now you have time to focus on yourself and what you do. But um, it’s great. Like I said, being broke, trying to figure out, you know, which way to go in life? Do I really still want to fight? F*ck yes, I still want to fight. I’m not giving this up, you know, so it’s incredible to get out of that hole.”
The 35-year-old UFC veteran didn’t feel like he was fighting for his job on Saturday; rather, he was fighting for his life.
“I felt like I was fighting for my life. Like, forget the job, you know what I mean? Like yeah, I need to make ends meet, you know what I mean? I need to be successful. This is where I get my main paycheck. This is where I take care of myself, and I can help my family and get through hard times,” Johnson said. “I definitely needed this; I definitely needed to get back on track to get a little bit of weight off my shoulders. And I wasn’t going to be satisfied with a decision. I needed to go out there and put a statement win on, to show and prove to everybody in the UFC that ‘hey, I still got it.’ I’m not going anywhere. I’m 35, and I’m just getting better.”
If you were wondering why Bruce Buffer didn’t announce Johnson as “The Menace,” that’s because it was a little mess up. Last year, Johnson dropped his nickname, but prior to this fight, he brought it back. Buffer didn’t get the memo, sadly.
“Yeah, it was just because I wanted to get back to myself and my roots, but I did bring it back, and they didn’t say it! I was about to tell Bruce, ‘No, it’s The Menace now; I’m back.’ But I just let it go; we’ll make sure to get it done this next time. So, it is Michael ‘Menace’ Johnson until I retire, which might be ten years,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he wants to return for International Fight Week, with UFC 276 on July 2, but didn’t have any names. However, he said if he has to fight an up-and-comer, he will.
Watch the rest of Michael Johnson’s UFC Vegas 54 post-fight interview above. More coverage from the event can be found below.