Michael Johnson finds himself on a three-fight losing streak and cannot afford another setback within the confines of the Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight division.
Johnson owns victories over Dustin Poirier, Edson Barboza, Joe Lauzon and former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson. Still held in high regard, “The Menace” will collide with Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili in the UFC Fight Night 135 co-main event on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
As Johnson approaches his three-round clash with Fili, here are some of the numbers that have come to define “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 finalist:
10: Years as a professional mixed martial artist. Johnson made his debut at a FM Productions event in February 2008 and stopped Chauncey Prather with punches in just 72 seconds.
8: Wins on his ledger before the UFC took notice and cast Johnson on Season 12 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series. He was 8-4 at the time.
2: Title reigns on the regional circuit. Johnson captured Midwest Fight League lightweight championship in 2008 and the Xtreme Cage Fighter lightweight crown the following year.
4: Fighters he defeated on his way to “The Ultimate Fighter 12” final against Jonathan Brookins. Johnson eliminated Pablo Garza, Aaron Wilkinson, Alex Caceres and Nam Phan before losing a unanimous decision to Brookins.
18: UFC appearances. Johnson rebounded from his loss to Brookins with a first-round technical knockout of Edward Faaloloto at UFC Live 4. Seven years later, he remains on the roster.
3: Rounds needed to defeat Ferguson at UFC on Fox 3 in May 2012. The unanimous decision allowed Johnson to showcase his improving standup skills.
67: Significant strikes landed against Ferguson, per FightMetric. “El Cucuy,” meanwhile was credited with only 45.
1: “Knockout of the Night” award. Johnson wiped out Danny Castillo with second-round punches at UFC on FX 5 in October 2012, picking up a $40,000 bonus for his efforts.
8: Wins by knockout or technical knockout. Prather, Castillo, Faaloloto, Poirier, Warren Stewart, Aaron Derrow, Chris McDaniel and Gleison Tibau comprise Johnson’s list of victims.
2: Submission victories on his ledger. Johnson secured both of them in regional competition, as he choked out Steve Schneider and tapped Clay French with a kimura.
1: “Performance of the Night” award. Johnson’s ground-and-pound finish of Poirier at UFC Fight Night 94 earned him a $50,000 post-fight bonus.
2: “Fight of the Night” bonuses. Johnson was rewarded in defeat following losses to Nate Diaz and Justin Gaethje.
9: Losses in the UFC. Johnson has always struggled with consistency, leaving him at .500 in the promotion.