#1 UFC lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov was upset when featherweight champion Conor McGregor pushed him out of the way for a shot at champion Eddie Alvarez. The UFC instead gave Khabib a fight with #6 ranked Michael Johnson.
If McGregor loses and Nurmagomedov wins, there is little question that ‘The Eagle’ gets the next title shot. If McGregor wins and Nurmagomedov wins, there is a subliminal hint that it could go instead to Nate Diaz. However, if anyone but Nurmagomedov gets that shot, Khabib has vowed to leave the UFC, keep the UFC out of Russia forever, and hear the lamentations of their women.
For either possibility to come true, Nurmagomedov has to win. #6 ranked Johnson appeared recently on MMAjunkie Radio, and explained why he will win in an upset.
Johnson has taken an unusual path to flirting with a title shot. He won four in a row, beating Joe Lauzon, Gleison Tibau, Melvin Guillard, and then Edson Barboza. However, he then lost a controversial split decision to Beneil Dariush and was next decisioned by Nate Diaz. Going into his fight with Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC Fight Night 94 last month, Johnson was looking at the possibility of 0-3, a precarious spot in the UFC.
But Johnson beat Poirier, who had been on a four-fight win streak, via a performance of the night winning KO. And now he gets the #1 contender.
“Me and Eddie still keep close contact with each other,” said Johnson as transcribed by Matt Erickson andBrian Garcia for MMAjunkie. “He’s a good friend of mine, so I was talking to him about his fight and I was thinking to myself, ‘If they get Conor to fight [Alvarez], Khabib’s gonna be left open for me to fight, and this is perfect.’ I think you guys heard me after my last fight – I wanted to fight in Madison Square Garden, and the timeline couldn’t be more perfect. Everything was just lined up.
“I’m fortunate Khabib got passed up, and I knew that he wanted to fight. I knew there was no way he was going to sit out that long and not fight. So I just took my chance, and I got it.”
“It’s a big fight, and it seems like they can never get anybody to fight him. And they’ve built so much hype around him and they think everybody’s scared to fight him. So I’ve just been training, taking out my opponents on my way to get to the title. I have to go through him, so let’s get this fight out of the way. I wanted to fight him earlier, and now I’m getting my chance.”