LAS VEGAS – Michael Johnson claims he’s more driven than ever as he prepares for his 28th Octagon appearance on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 224.
Johnson (21-18 MMA, 13-14 UFC) has been part of the UFC roster since December 2010. During that time, he has beaten marquee names like Dustin Poirier, Edson Barboza and Tony Ferguson, but he has also lost to a number of opponents , which would in theory be defined as inferior.
Ahead of Saturday’s lightweight matchup with Diego Ferreira (17-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC), which will take place at UFC Apex and stream on ESPN+, Johnson said he’s in a very good place.
“We can get back to fighting and get this money and hey, 36, being 37 — I’m probably the healthiest I’ve been,” Johnson told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 224 media day. “The operations have been cleaned up. Free-spirited, clear-sighted and no stress, and I’m having fun in life now.”
Johnson’s journey through MMA has been quite a roller coaster ride. However, he is not ready to leave the trip. He is still determined to chase greatness and wants the glory as well as financial rewards that come with being at the top of the sport.
“A lot of things that keep me motivated is seeing guys that I know I’m better than getting paid, getting big money, getting big fights,” Johnson said. “Guys that I’ve beaten get these big fights, get all the popularity and all that shit, I don’t care. I just want to be financially stable from this UFC. I’m not leaving until I get it, I came here for
“If it takes me five more years. Six, seven years. I’ll stay until I’m done and the job is done. … I still want a world title. I thirst for that world title. I’m thirsty for all that money in the bank. We will see how it goes in the next few years and then we will adjust.”
Johnson said he understands the challenge he faces at UFC Fight Night 224. Ferreira comes into the fight on a three-fight losing skid and will be focused on turning things around. Johnson has been in that position, too, and he said raising his hand would be a tall order.
“I understand exactly what is going on with Diego, being up and down. That’s the sport. It is what it is. But he is a true veteran. He has beaten some of the best guys. He has beaten champions before. He is tough. He’s a guy who always comes to fight. That’s what I’m excited about.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkies event hub for UFC Fight Night 224.