There was quite a bit of bad blood between top lightweights Michael Johnson and Dustin Poirier ahead of their pivotal main event bout at UFC Fight Night 94 last weekend. They exchanged words and glares at the ceremonial weigh-ins and chose not to touch gloves just before the opening bell on Saturday night.
Johnson, who knocked “The Diamond” out early in the first round, was surprised by the lack of respect that came from his opponent, despite a rivalry between their respective camps, the Blackzilians and American Top Team, two elite South Floridian mixed martial arts gyms.
“The whole week leading up to the fight was just nothing but disrespect,” Johnson told The Anik and Florian Podcast. “I didn’t expect that from him. I’ve met Dustin and we’ve hung out a few times, out and about. I’ve never given him any reason to think of me like that.”
Johnson received criticism after the bout for briefly taunting his still-recovering foe. Johnson apologized to Poirier shortly after, and believes that it was an emotional, heat of the moment situation.
Johnson’s victory over Poirier marked his first win since early 2015; prior to last weekend, “The Menace” had lost two in a row to longtime contender Nate Diaz and Beneil Dariush.
The Blackzilians product believes that the knockout loss he dished out to Poirier was a humbling learning experience for his opponent. Johnson doesn’t expect Poirier to talk as much as he did ahead of UFC Fight Night 94 before his next bout.
“He called me average, he also downplayed my skills, and he wants to say that all the guys that he’s beat at this division would run through me easily and beat me,” Johnson said. “So I hope the fight really humbled him a little bit.”
Johnson also spoke in-depth about it in a recent appearance on The MMA Hour: