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Michael Johnson (fighter)

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Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson 2018.jpg
Michael Johnson in 2018
BornMichael Julian Johnson
(1986-06-04) June 4, 1986 (age 34)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Nickname(s)The Menace
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight155 lb (70 kg; 11.1 st)
DivisionLightweight (2008–2017, 2019–present)
Featherweight (2018–2019)
Reach73 12 in (187 cm)[1]
Fighting out ofLantana, Florida, United States
TeamBlackzilians (former)
Sanford MMA
WrestlingNJCAA Wrestling[2]
Years active2008–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout8
By submission2
By decision9
By knockout2
By submission9
By decision5
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Michael Julian Johnson[3] (born June 4, 1986) is an American professional mixed martial artist, who competes in the Lightweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). A professional MMA competitor since 2008, Johnson mostly competed in his regional circuit, before signing onto the Ultimate Fighting Championship to appear on The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck, in which he was the runner-up.[4]


Johnson was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 4, 1986. He was raised as the youngest of three siblings. Johnson began fighting at the age of 10, after his father's fatal heart attack. The incident made Johnson want to exert his anger physically.[5] Johnson later said, "I lost something, a huge part of me....Fighting was my way of not dealing with my dad's passing. Now that I think of it, of course, it was the wrong thing to do, especially putting all that burden on my mom having to deal with it."[5] Athletic, Johnson was a three-sport varsity athlete at Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Missouri. Johnson later received a full scholarship to play football at Central Methodist University, but transferred after one year to Meramec Community College, where he was one of the top NJCAA wrestlers in the country.[2][6]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Johnson is a former Midwest Fight League and Xtreme Cage Fighting Champion who won those titles in July 2008 and October 2009 respectively.[7]

The Ultimate Fighter[edit]

Johnson then signed onto the Ultimate Fighting Championship circuit to appear on The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck.[4]

Johnson's entry onto the show was, in part, due to his persistence in attending tryouts for the show. After making the final interview round of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir, Johnson was told that he wasn't the right fit for the show.[5] Johnson then tried out for the ninth season of the show, before finally becoming accepted onto the twelfth season after telling the producers, "I've been getting tired of chasing you [expletive] around the country. I'm here; I'm not going to go anywhere. If you guys don't pick me, I'm going to try out again." Finally, Johnson was signed.[5]

Johnson's first fight took place on the debut episode of the season, where he faced unbeaten Pablo Garza. Johnson scored a unanimous decision victory, which moved him into the house.[8]

In the second episode, both St-Pierre and Koscheck had Johnson at the top of their lists when it came time to select fighters. During the team selection process however, St-Pierre created a fake list which did not have Johnson among his top selections, and subtly showed it to Koscheck to fool him into believing it. This seemed to manipulate Koscheck into picking Marc Stevens, as he may have believed he could take Johnson later. This allowed St-Pierre to choose Johnson with the second overall pick.[9]

Johnson competed in his preliminary round matchup against Aaron Wilkinson in the third episode. After some early striking exchanges in the first round, Wilkinson was able to take Johnson down and utilise ground-and-pound punches and elbows. In the second round, Johnson landed an early superman punch, as well as a takedown. After takedowns were achieved by both men, Johnson stuffed a final attempt and took the second round on the judges scorecards. In the sudden victory round, Johnson attacked quickly, which allowed him to end the fight via a rear naked choke.[10]

In episode 8, Team GSP had to pick which team members would fight each other (considering they had 5 members in the quarter-finals). St. Pierre asked each member to pick the fighter they wanted to fight. Johnson and Alex Caceres picked each other and a fight was scheduled.[11] Johnson won by unanimous decision after two rounds, earning himself a spot in the semi-finals.[12]

In the final round, Johnson faced the one remaining Team Koscheck member, Nam Phan. In a back-and-forth fight, Johnson scored takedowns. The consensus after the fight was that Johnson won the opening round, and Phan the second. The third was in dispute however, with each fighter's coach convinced they had won the round. Johnson was declared the winner via split decision.[13]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]


Johnson made his UFC debut in The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck Finale against Jonathan Brookins. That fight determined the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 12. After an impressive first round, Johnson lost rounds two and three — and subsequently the fight — via unanimous decision, leaving him the runner-up.[14]


Johnson was looking to take a fight outside of the UFC before returning to the promotion. The fight was to headline the North American Fighting Championship card against Jim Bleau.[15] However, after obtaining a UFC fight, Johnson pulled out of the NAFC bout to focus his training on the UFC bout. Johnson faced Edward Faaloloto on June 26, 2011 at UFC on Versus 4[16] and won the fight via TKO in the first round.

Johnson faced Paul Sass on October 1, 2011, at UFC on Versus 6.[17] He lost the fight via submission in the first round.


Johnson was expected to face Cody McKenzie on January 28, 2012, at UFC on Fox 2. However, McKenzie was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced by Shane Roller.[18] Johnson defeated Roller by unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the bout 29-28.

Johnson faced Tony Ferguson on May 5, 2012, at UFC on Fox 3, replacing an injured Thiago Tavares.[19] Johnson won the fight via unanimous decision.[20]

Johnson was expected to face Danny Castillo on September 1, 2012, at UFC 151.[21] However, after UFC 151 was cancelled, Johnson/Castillo was rescheduled and took place on October 5, 2012, at UFC on FX 5.[22] After almost being finished in the first round, Johnson survived and came back to win via KO at 1:06 into the second round. Johnson was awarded Knockout of the Night honors for his performance.

Johnson fought Myles Jury on December 29, 2012, at UFC 155.[23] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.


Johnson faced Reza Madadi on April 6, 2013, at UFC on Fuel TV 9.[24] Despite almost finishing Madadi with a head kick in the first round, he eventually succumbed to the wrestling of Madadi and lost the fight via submission in the third round.

Johnson faced Joe Lauzon on August 17, 2013, at UFC Fight Night 26.[25] He won the fight via unanimous decision after outstriking Lauzon for all three rounds.

Johnson faced Gleison Tibau on December 28, 2013, at UFC 168.[26] He won the fight in impressive fashion; winning via knockout in the second round.


Due to an injury to Ross Pearson, Johnson stepped in to face Melvin Guillard at UFC Fight Night 37.[27] Johnson won the fight via unanimous decision.

Johnson was expected to face Josh Thomson on July 26, 2014, at UFC on Fox 12.[28][29] However, on July 11, the UFC announced he had been pulled from the bout.[30] It was later revealed that Johnson was pulled from the bout and would not compete during the remainder of 2014 his arrest in Palm Beach County, Florida in April 2014.[31]


Johnson faced Edson Barboza on February 22, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 61.[32] He won the bout by unanimous decision.[33]

A bout with Benson Henderson was initially linked as the event headliner for The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale on July 12, 2015.[34] Although never officially announced by the UFC, the bout between Henderson and Johnson will not take place at this event.[35]

Johnson faced Beneil Dariush on August 8, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 73.[36] He lost the fight via a controversial split decision.[37][38][39] Every mainstream MMA media outlet polled by MMA Decisions scored the fight as decision victory for Johnson.[40]

Johnson faced Nate Diaz on December 19, 2015, at UFC on Fox 17.[41] He lost the fight by unanimous decision.[42] Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.[43]


A rematch with Tony Ferguson was expected to take place on March 5, 2016, at UFC 196.[44] However, on January 27, it was announced that Johnson withdrew from the bout due to injury.[45]

Johnson faced Dustin Poirier on September 17, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 94.[46] He won the fight via knockout early in the first round with a sharp two-punch combination followed by ground and pound.[47]

Johnson next faced Khabib Nurmagomedov on November 12, 2016, at UFC 205.[48] He lost the fight via submission in the third round.[49]


Johnson faced former World Series of Fighting champion Justin Gaethje on July 7, 2017, in the main event at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale.[50] Rocking Gaethje twice with punches, Johnson was not able to capitalize and lost the fight via TKO with a combination of punches and knees in the second round.[51] The win earned Johnson his second Fight of the Night bonus award.[52]


Johnson faced Darren Elkins in a featherweight bout on January 14, 2018, at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi.[53] He lost the fight in round two via submission.[54]

Johnson faced Andre Fili on August 25, 2018, at UFC Fight Night 135.[55] He won the fight via split decision.[56]

Johnson faced Artem Lobov on October 27, 2018, at UFC Fight Night 138.[57] At weight-ins, Johnson weighed in at 147 pounds, one pounds over the featherweight limit of 146 pounds. As a result, the fight proceeded at a catchweight bout and Johnson was to forfeit 20% of his purse to Lobov, however Lobov refused to take the money.[58] Johnson defeated Lobov by unanimous decision.[59]


Johnson faced Josh Emmett on March 30, 2019, at UFC on ESPN 2.[60] He lost the fight via knockout in the third round.[61]

Johnson faced Stevie Ray at UFC on ESPN+ 20 on October 26, 2019.[62] He lost the fight via majority decision.[63]


Johnson was scheduled to face Evan Dunham on April 25, 2020.[64] However due to the COVID-19 pandemic event, Johnson was rescheduled to face Khama Worthy at UFC 249.[65] In turn the bout was postponed to future date.[66] However, the event was cancelled.[67] However, on April 9, Dana White, the president of UFC announced that this event was postponed to a future date[68] Instead Johnson faced Thiago Moisés on May 13, 2020 at UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Teixeira.[69] He lost the fight via an Achilles lock submission in round two.[70]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson trained at Springfield Fight Club, which is an affiliate of Gracie Barra based in Springfield, Missouri. Johnson also worked there as the assistant mixed martial arts coach.[71]

On April 9, 2014, Johnson was arrested in Palm Beach County, Florida following a domestic dispute. He was charged with simple misdemeanor battery and later released on bail. The charges were dropped at a later date.[72]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
35 matches 19 wins 16 losses
By knockout 8 2
By submission 2 9
By decision 9 5
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 19–16 Thiago Moisés Submission (Achilles lock) UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Teixeira May 13, 2020 2 0:25 Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Loss 19–15 Stevie Ray Decision (majority) UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Askren October 26, 2019 3 5:00 Kallang, Singapore Return to Lightweight.
Loss 19–14 Josh Emmett KO (punch) UFC on ESPN: Barboza vs. Gaethje March 30, 2019 3 4:14 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 19–13 Artem Lobov Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Volkan vs. Smith October 27, 2018 3 5:00 Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada Catchweight (147 lbs) bout; Johnson missed weight.
Win 18–13 Andre Fili Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: Gaethje vs. Vick August 25, 2018 3 5:00 Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Loss 17–13 Darren Elkins Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi January 14, 2018 2 2:22 St. Louis, Missouri, United States Featherweight debut.
Loss 17–12 Justin Gaethje TKO (punches and knees) The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale July 7, 2017 2 4:48 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night.
Loss 17–11 Khabib Nurmagomedov Submission (kimura) UFC 205 November 12, 2016 3 2:31 New York City, New York, United States
Win 17–10 Dustin Poirier KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Johnson September 17, 2016 1 1:35 Hidalgo, Texas, United States Performance of the Night.
Loss 16–10 Nate Diaz Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: dos Anjos vs. Cerrone 2 December 19, 2015 3 5:00 Orlando, Florida, United States Fight of the Night.
Loss 16–9 Beneil Dariush Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Saint Preux August 8, 2015 3 5:00 Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Win 16–8 Edson Barboza Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Bigfoot vs. Mir February 22, 2015 3 5:00 Porto Alegre, Brazil
Win 15–8 Melvin Guillard Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa March 8, 2014 3 5:00 London, England
Win 14–8 Gleison Tibau KO (punches) UFC 168 December 28, 2013 2 1:32 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 13–8 Joe Lauzon Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen August 17, 2013 3 5:00 Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Loss 12–8 Reza Madadi Submission (D'Arce choke) UFC on Fuel TV: Mousasi vs. Latifi April 6, 2013 3 1:33 Stockholm, Sweden
Loss 12–7 Myles Jury Decision (unanimous) UFC 155 December 29, 2012 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 12–6 Danny Castillo KO (punches) UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot October 5, 2012 2 1:06 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States Knockout of the Night.
Win 11–6 Tony Ferguson Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller May 5, 2012 3 5:00 East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States
Win 10–6 Shane Roller Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis January 28, 2012 3 5:00 Chicago, Illinois, United States
Loss 9–6 Paul Sass Submission (heel hook) UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson October 1, 2011 1 3:00 Washington, D.C., United States
Win 9–5 Edward Faaloloto TKO (punches) UFC Live: Kongo vs. Barry June 26, 2011 1 4:42 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Loss 8–5 Jonathan Brookins Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck Finale December 4, 2010 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States The Ultimate Fighter 12 Lightweight Tournament Final.
Win 8–4 Chris McDaniel TKO (punches) FM: Productions January 30, 2010 1 4:34 Springfield, Missouri, United States
Win 7–4 Ramiro Hernandez Decision (unanimous) Titan Fighting Championship 15 December 18, 2009 3 5:00 Kansas City, Kansas, United States Catchweight (150 lbs) bout.
Win 6–4 Aaron Derrow TKO (punches) Xtreme Cage Fighter 10 October 3, 2009 1 0:43 Springfield, Missouri, United States Won the XCF Lightweight Championship.
Loss 5–4 Eric Marriott Submission (heel hook) FM: Productions May 9, 2009 2 1:32 Springfield, Missouri, United States
Win 5–3 Clay French Submission (kimura) Fuel Fight Club April 10, 2009 1 3:16 Lake Ozark, Missouri, United States
Loss 4–3 Joe Brammer Submission (guillotine choke) Midwest Cage Championships 19 March 14, 2009 4 3:45 Des Moines, Iowa, United States
Loss 4–2 James Krause Submission (triangle choke) FM: Productions November 22, 2008 1 2:55 Springfield, Missouri, United States
Win 4–1 Warren Stewart TKO (punches) FM: Productions September 13, 2008 1 2:37 Springfield, Missouri, United States
Win 3–1 Lucas Gwaltney Decision (majority) Midwest Fight League July 25, 2008 3 5:00 Columbia, Missouri, United States Won the MFL Lightweight Championship
Loss 2–1 Ted Worthington Submission (triangle choke) MCC 13: Contenders April 25, 2008 3 1:29 Urbandale, Iowa, United States
Win 2–0 Steve Schneider Submission (choke) FM: Productions April 18, 2008 1 2:12 Springfield, Missouri, United States
Win 1–0 Chauncey Prather TKO (punches) FM: Productions February 1, 2008 1 1:12 Springfield, Missouri, United States


Mixed martial arts exhibition record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 4–0 Nam Phan Decision (split) The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck December 1, 2010 (airdate) 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Semi-finals.
Win 3–0 Alex Caceres Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck November 17, 2010 (airdate) 2 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Quarter-finals.
Win 2–0 Aaron Wilkinson Submission (rear-naked choke) The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck September 29, 2010 (airdate) 3 0:39 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Preliminary bout.
Win 1–0 Pablo Garza Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck September 15, 2010 (airdate) 2 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States TUF house entry bout.


See also[edit]


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External links[edit]