After dropping four out of his last bouts at lightweight, UFC veteran Michael Johnson announced his drop down to 145 pounds earlier this month. Johnson immediately targeted former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo for his divisional debut.
Unfortunately for “Menace,” Aldo is reportedly in talks to rematch top contender Ricardo Lamas later this year. So if Aldo is already spoken for then who could Johnson draw for his first stop off at featherweight?
“I think me and Cub [Swanson] would be a great fight,” Johnson said in a recent interview with FloCombat. “I wanted [Jose] Aldo first, but it looks like him and Ricardo [Lamas] are going to fight, and man, I mean, Cub would be the next great option. I’ve gotten into this business with one thing on my mind, and that’s to fight the best guys in the division, to fight whoever’s the champ, whoever’s beaten everybody. Those are the guys I want to fight, so a fight with Cub, you know, that’s right up my alley.”
Swanson, 33, is currently riding a four-fight win streak, including recent victories over Conor McGregor henchman Artem Lobov and rising Korean prospect Doo Ho Choi. The former WEC standout remains on the short list of top title contenders vying for a shot at current UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway.
“He’s a friend of mine but it’s all business and I want to test myself,” Johnson explained. “And [Cub Swanson]’s the one that will test me. Man, December 30’s right up my alley. It’s a great card. It’s another card in Vegas. I need to redeem myself after my last trip to Vegas, so that’s perfect for me, man. I just got back into training, and I’m hitting it hard. I’m going to be ready for anything that comes up.”
As long as the rumors of Swanson facing undefeated prospect Brian Ortega at UFC Fight Night 123 die down, Johnson may have his chance to enter the 145-pound class in fashion and trade heavy leather with Swanson. If Swanson is indeed already spoken for then “Menace” may have to set his sights on someone else in the top 15 like Yair Rodriguez, Jeremy Stephens, or Dennis Bermudez.