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Michael Johnson will take Nate Diaz's dignity, then fight 'Cowboy' Cerrone for the UFC title

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Johnson didn't exactly get his man, as he desperately wanted to tango with former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in his next outing.

Instead, "The Menace" was booked to take on Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 17 on Dec. 19, 2015, in Orlando, Florida (details).

It's not that Diaz isn't a worthy foe. If anything, Johnson feels this fight will be a more exciting scrap. That's because Diaz brings it -- in and out of the cage -- and knows how to talk up a storm to promote a fight.

But as "The Menace" recently told MMA Junkie, he plans to take away Nate's dignity on his road to the title.

"He can't help but talk shit. That's what he does. I don't have to hope that it's going to happen. I can't wait for him to start running his mouth. I'll egg him on a little bit. Regardless of his ranking, Nate is still one of the best lightweights in the world. I'm not going to take that away from him, I'm just going to take his dignity away from him once we get in the cage."

Coincidentally enough, the main event of the FOX televised card will feature 155-pound champion Rafael dos Anjos taking on Donald Cerrone.

In Johnson's assessment, "Cowboy" will win the title, setting up a future championship showdown between the two former training partners somewhere down the road.

"I believe ‘Cowboy' is going to take the title, I really do. I've trained with ‘Cowboy' and people say he chokes in big fights, but I think he's on a momentum and he's going to ride that wave. I think me and ‘Cowboy' are going to have to fight for the title pretty soon."

Johnson had his four-fight win streak snapped (albeit controversially) after he lost a highly-debated split-decision to Beneil Deriush at UFC Fight Night 73 earlier this month.

As for Diaz, he hasn't seen much action -- at least not inside the cage -- in eight months.

For his sake, he better hope ring rust isn't a factor, that way he can escape sunny Florida with a much-needed win... along with his dignity.

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