Justin Gaethje wanted a difficult matchup for his Octagon debut, and he is going to get his wish.
The recently-signed former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion will lock horns with Michael Jonson at "The Ultimate Fighter 25" finale headliner in Las Vegas on July 7. The 155-pound bout as announced during a summer kickoff press conference in Dallas on Friday. The “TUF 25” finale takes place at the T-Mobile Arena and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
Gaethje established himself as one of the top lightweight fighters outside the UFC during a run in WSOF that saw him compile a 10-0 mark in the promotion while capturing the 155-pound belt. Gaethje is 17-0 as a professional with wins over the likes of Luis Palomino (twice), Brian Foster, Melvin Guillard and Gesias Cavalcante.
Johnson, meanwhile, has lost three of his last four – albeit against top-flight competition. “The Menace” last appeared at UFC 205, where he was dominated by Khabib Nurmagomedov en route to losing via kimura in the third round. Prior to that, Johnson scored an impressive first-round knockout of Dustin Poirier at UFC Fight Night 94. The 30-year-old “TUF 12” veteran also owns notable triumphs over the likes of Edson Barboza, Gleison Tibau, Joe Lauzon, Tony Ferguson and Danny Castillo.