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Jussier Formiga: ‘What else do I have to do’ to fight UFC champion Demetrious Johnson?

UFC 221: Formiga v Nguyen
Jussier Formiga asked for a title shot after choking out Ben Nguyen at UFC 221.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Jussier Formiga had a perfect night in Perth, and hopes that it leads to a shot at the UFC belt.

The Brazilian flyweight stopped Ben Nguyen in impressive fashion at UFC 221, knocking him down with a spinning back punch and put him to sleep with a rear-naked choke on Saturday night, and explains that the spinning attack was part of his game plan.

“It wasn’t a lucky punch or just instinct as some people thought, that was something I trained hard,” Formiga told MMA Fighting. “I’ve been using spinning back punches and kicks since my fight with Ray Borg in Fortaleza. I knew that Nguyen was expecting me to go for takedowns, so I had to mix spinning back kicks and punches in this fight.

“Every time I finished sparring or training muay thai, I stayed in the gym to train those spinning attacks, so it was something I worked hard on for this fight.”

Formiga has now won six of his last eight fights, and currently rides a two-fight submission streak over Nguyen and Yuta Sasaki over the past six months. Right after the win at UFC 221, the 32-year-old flyweight told UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard, who was sitting cage side, that he wants his shot at UFC king Demetrious Johnson.

“What else do I have to do?” he asks. “I went to Japan and finished a guy that was submitting everyone, and now I came to Australia and submitted a top 10, a popular fighter, so I believe I’ve shown that I can become the next contender and fight Demetrious.”

The title picture at flyweight is still a bit confusing, since Johnson is discussing a potential title defense against bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw. Formiga believes that this super fight “would be great” to promote the division, but hopes he’s next in line.

If he’s given a shot at “Mighty Mouse” in 2018, Formiga vows to have a “perfect, flawless” training camp at American Top Team. The Kimura fighter, who trained at Power MMA in Arizona alongside his longtime coach Jair Lourenco, did his camp for UFC 221 at ATT in Florida, and will continue training there for his upcoming bouts.

“I really enjoyed training there,” said Formiga, who will still have Lourenco as his coach, manager and corner. “I adapted well there, they have great coaches and sparring partners, and we would have a great team around me for a title fight.”

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