Michael Johnson entered UFC Fight Night 37 on Saturday as the No. 14 ranked fighter in the UFC's lightweight division. After 15 minutes, his hand was raised in victory, but it's hard to say if the unanimous decision he earned over Melvin Guillard will help him march up the divisional rankings.
Johnson (15-8) put on the best fight he could against Guillard, but Guillard seemed reluctant to engage. Instead he backed up, presumably waiting for an opening that never came. At the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White was blunt in his assessment of Guillard's performance, saying, "There's no doubt Melvin ran the entire fight and was incredibly passive, the complete opposite of how he used to fight."
The crowd booed the fight between Johnson and Guillard, and to hear Johnson's opinion of the fight, they were not out lf line in voicing their displeasure. "I'm a little pissed off that our fight was considered bad," Johnson said. "I came in here wanting to fight and he was running and not engaging or anything. He was talking a lot of s--- before the fight, and I expected him to do something, but instead he didn't. I did think he was a little scared of me in this fight."
The win gives Johnson three straight victories in the UFC, and allows him to put his consecutive losses to Myles Jury and Reza Madadi behind him. As for what's in front of him, that's a difficult question to answer.
Prior to stepping in to face Guillard when Guillard's originally scheduled opponent Ross Pearson pulled up injured for Saturday's event, Johnson had actively sought a fight against No. 7 ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov, but that fight is no longer on Johnson's radar.
One reason Johnson has changed his mind on that fight is because Nurmagomedov is booked to face Rafael Dos Anjos in April. However that's not the only reason Johnson has no interest in that matchup after his win over Guillard, "I want somebody over him now," Johnson said. "I want somebody that's going to get me to a title, somebody that's going to put me in a position where I can make a run for it."
The fighters ranked higher than Nurmagomedov at this time are Dos Anjos, Nate Diaz, Josh Thomson, TJ Grant, Gilbert Melendez and Benson Henderson. Anthony Pettis is the current UFC lightweight champion.