Michael Johnson's split-decision loss to Beneil Dariush at UFC Fight Night 73 was definitely one of the biggest robberies in recent memory. A little over a weeks has passed since, now the lightweight prospect opens up about the moment, his opponent's arm got raised.
"I'm pretty aware of everything when I'm in the cage," Johnson told MMA Junkie. "I was looking at Bruce Buffer's face, and I was looking at Herb Dean, and they were reading the cards, and their facial expressions just said it all to me because obviously everybody thought I won the fight, and I could see it in their face. I think Bruce Buffer was a little confused at what he was reading on the card. I think that he double-checked with the judges. ... I don't know if people could hear me, but I was like, ‘Wow. They gave it to him. They gave him a split decision.'
"I was extremely upset about it, but I definitely saw it before it happened. Then I was like, ‘Maybe I'm reading it wrong. Maybe they'll give it to me, anyway.' Then they said his name, and after that, (Dariush) was more surprised than I was. You can see his face in every picture when he's getting his hand raised."
Johnson dominated wide parts of the fight versus Dariush in the evening's co-main event, and most people thought had secured a clear decision victory. But he didn't. Two of the judges gave the fight to Dariush, leaving Johnson in shock. While many other fighters would have been outraged, the 29-year old acted very classy at the post-fight press conference.
"You do have to be professional," Johnson said. "You can't go out there and look like a fool and bash the promotion or keep bashing the judges. Everybody knew what happened. I wasn't going to help the situation by going out there and popping off and acting like an immature little kid.
"It is what it is, so I've just got to get back to work and make sure that never happens again."
With the loss to Dariush, a four-fight winning streak is snapped for Johnson, he also had to give up on his winning bonus, which makes half of his purse. Now, the Blackzilian standout hopes to fight again soon and that the UFC will give him a top-level opponent, regardless of the judges decision.
"I can't get the fight back," Johnson said. "I don't know if they'll turn it into a win. That's not a huge concern of mine. A big concern of mine right now is moving forward - hoping I get a big fight and can redeem myself and get right back on the same page.
"All my plans just got set back because of judges that don't have knowledge of the sport. We should feel comfortable in knowing these judges will get it right. Nothing went on with these judges lives. My life just took a 180, and I just lost my four-winning streak. I just lost a little bit of momentum, and now I've got to play a little bit of catch-up and hope the UFC makes the right decision.
"I'd fight next week if I need to. Remember, I only got half of my money that I was supposed to. That's a big concern, as well, for me right now. I'm still in shape. I can turn around and fight next week. I just need to fight and get back in there and show people that I'm a threat in this division, and I shouldn't be getting robbed like that."