Saturday, January 22, 2022

Skidding Michael Johnson Out To Prove He Can Still Be World Champion

Michael Johnson is out to prove to himself and to the world that he has what it takes to be a UFC champion when he steps into the Octagon tonight at UFC Vegas 18.

With names like Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, and Edson Barboza on his résumé, Michael Johnson has certainly showed huge flashes of greatness throughout his UFC career. The trouble has been sustaining it. For as impressive as Johnson has been in spurts, his overall UFC record is under .500 at 11-12.

This number does not tell the whole story of Johnson’s career. It doesn’t show a man who has competed against world champions and who, at one point, many thought could be a champion himself. Tonight and beyond, Michael Johnson is out to prove that those initial believers were right.

“I got to prove that I’m still capable of becoming a world champion,” Johnson told reporters ahead of his UFC Vegas 18 bout against Clay Guida. “That’s what it is. I’m finally growing in my mind. And that’s been a huge thing, a huge change for me over this past year.

Image result for Michael Johnson beats Dustin Poirier
Michael Johnson Defeats Dustin Poirier In 2016. Credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

“And I like I said before, maybe earlier 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.”

How Does Michael Johnson Get Over The Hump?

So what will be the difference from the Michael Johnson who, for years, was unable to get over the hump to the man who believes he can hoist up the UFC strap? It all begins and ends with the mind.

“Me being mentally strong, not allow myself to get caught up in certain positions and losing focus,” Johnson said. “That’s what it’s been. So now, I’m fully prepared. Going into these fights, maybe I was training my body so much, and I was forgetting the most important muscle in our body, and that’s our mind.

“So I’ve really focused on building that, getting stronger, staying focused, and that’s gonna be the key to getting over this hump.”

At 34 years old, Michael Johnson still has some good years left to rally together some wins and potentially make a title run. Unfortunately, a loss tonight could possibly spell the complete opposite in a UFC release since he is currently on a three-fight losing streak. His opponent, 39-year-old Clay Guida is also on a losing streak, so both men could be fighting to prove that they still belong in the promotion altogether.

The UFC Vegas 18 main card, which will feature the lightweight bout between Michael Johnson and Clay Guida, kicks off at 8 PM ET. The prelims start at 5:00 PM. Both will stream live on ESPN+.

Do you believe Michael Johnson has the potential to be UFC world champion?

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