Michael “The Menace” Johnson knows he got himself in a position to benefit hugely by being matched up against No. 1 lightweight “The Eagle” Khabib Nurmagomedov for UFC 205.
Johnson thinks everything just happened at the right time for all the pieces to fall into place where he could slip in there and get that fight.
“The Eagle” was originally in deep talks to get the upcoming title shot against Eddie Alvarez, but with Conor McGregor now getting that shot, Johnson knew there was a wide-open opportunity that not many were going to take advantage of.
“Me and Eddie still keep close contact with each other,” Johnson told MMAjunkie Radio (transcription via MMAjunkie). “He’s a good friend of mine, so I was talking to him about his fight and I was thinking to myself, ‘If they get Conor to fight (Alvarez), Khabib’s gonna be left open for me to fight, and this is perfect.’ I think you guys heard me after my last fight – I wanted to fight in Madison Square Garden, and the timeline couldn’t be more perfect. Everything was just lined up.”
Johnson is coming off his main event against Dustin Poirier where he knocked out “The Diamond” in the first round — afterwards making the request to fight on UFC 205.
“I’m fortunate Khabib got passed up, and I knew that he wanted to fight. I knew there was no way he was going to sit out that long and not fight. So I just took my chance, and I got it.
“It’s a big fight, and it seems like they can never get anybody to fight him. And they’ve built so much hype around him and they think everybody’s scared to fight him. So I’ve just been training, taking out my opponents on my way to get to the title. I have to go through him, so let’s get this fight out of the way. I wanted to fight him earlier, and now I’m getting my chance.”