For Michael Johnson, seeing fellow Lightweight contender Nate Diaz come up the financial ranks thanks to a duo of huge money fights against Conor McGregor was bittersweet.
While he was happy to see the longtime veteran finally hit pay dirt, it was a sad reminder of "what could have been." That’s because Nate’s rise up the pay-scale came shortly after he defeated "The Menace" at UFC on FOX 17 last December, as the Stockton slugger took to the mic to call out "Notorious" in this now-infamous rant.
Three months later, Nate found himself forcing the current featherweight champion to tap to his rear-naked choke at UFC 196. Nate got paid $500,000 for his efforts, but what followed was a massive $2 million payout for his rematch against the mouthy Irishman five months later at UFC 202, despite a loss.
As Johnson declared during his appearance on The MMA Hour, going back to Nate’s victory over him and the subsequent callout of McGregor rubs him the wrong way to this day, which is why he hopes to get a rematch against Nate to prove he’s nobody’s stepping stone.
"It didn’t really piss me off, it just rubbed me the wrong way because I felt like a stepping stone. I was like ‘Shit, he just beat me and now he’s fighting for this amount of money and getting all this fame.’ But, Nate’s been around for awhile, he’s a veteran of the sport and he deserves everything he is getting right now. My hat is off to him. It’s good to see these guys succeed the way they are. Now, with that being said, I want my rematch, I want my money and I want these big-money fights and I am here to show the world that I am not to be joked around with in this division."
Johnson got back on the winning track this past weekend (Sat., Sept. 17, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 94, knocking out Dustin Poirier in Hidalgo, Texas (see it) to put an end to his two-fight skid.
As Michael sees it, everyone gets their chance to shine, and while Nate and Conor are getting theirs at the moment, once his rolls around, not only will he shock the world, he intends to crush it.
And should he get a do-over against Nate, he won’t underestimate him this time around.