If Michael Johnson decides to change divisions, it will be to face a fresh crop of elite opponents.
Speaking at a UFC Q&A in Rotterdam, The Netherlands on Friday (h/t to MMAUNO.com), “The Menace” suggested that the next stage of his career could see him go from lightweight (where he has fought all of his pro fights thus far) to featherweight following a rough patch of four losses in his past five outings.
Johnson’s recent setbacks have all come against highly ranked contenders, including Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz, and Beneil Dariush. This past July, he was finished by former World Series of Fighting champion Justin Gaethje after almost 10 minutes of non-stop action. Johnson is 9-8 as a UFC lightweight.
At 145, he’s aiming for a clash with featherweight great Jose Aldo.
“I was thinking about making a move down to 145, because I’ve fought everybody in the top-10 at 155, I think it’s time for me to see some new faces in the cage,” Johnson said.
“Jose Aldo, he’s looking to get out of his contract, he’s a great champion, so I would love to go down to 145 and fight him. Anytime, anywhere. I’m hoping in December I’ll go down to Brazil and fight him. I just love good, exciting fights and he’s a guy that I would love to get in there with.”
Aldo last fought at UFC 212 in June, losing the UFC championship to Max Holloway via third-round TKO. His coach Andre Pederneiras recently told MMA Fighting that Aldo has four fights left on his current contract and he is planning to go into professional boxing after he wraps up this run with the UFC.
A rematch between Aldo and Cub Swanson has been discussed, so Johnson may have to wait in line for his shot.