UFC's Michael Johnson: Nate Diaz, where you at?


Fresh off a disappointing outing against Melvin Guillard, Michael Johnson is aiming at a previous target: Nate Diaz.

“I’m not saying he’s scared, but he’s acting like he’s scared,” Johnson today told MMAjunkie Radio. “I don’t know if he’s seen or heard anything about me wanting to fight him, but where you at, Nate?

“We need to get this going.”

Johnson, who against Guillard earned his third straight win, isn’t ready to get it going just yet, mind you. After all, it’s merely been nine days since he took home a unanimous decision over “The Young Assassin” in a grudge match that failed to deliver fireworks.

A summer return, though, sounds right to the 27-year-old vet (15-8 MMA, 7-4 UFC). Rather than fight an opponent of equal position in the 155-pound class, he’s again targeting Diaz (17-9 MMA, 12-7 UFC), whom he previously called out on Twitter.

“I think he has a fight style that can’t compete with mine,” said Johnson. “I think my fighting style is better than his. He’s one of the guys that I want. If I beat him, it opens up a lot of doors for me, as opposed to sitting back and waiting or fighting guys that are the same rank. I want to fight the top guys in the division.”

Johnson first stumped for the Diaz fight after knocking out Gleison Tibau at UFC 168, but instead was called as a short-notice injury replacement for the injured Ross Pearson at UFC Fight Night 37.

“It feels really good to bounce back from those two losses in a row and to beat three guys,” he said. “That just shows me and its proof that all the hard work that I’m putting in is really starting to pay off now. We’re looking at bigger and better things, like old Nate Diaz if he ever steps up to the plate.”

Diaz remains unbooked after turning down a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 170 when the promotion declined a request to renegotiate his contract. The fighter then made headlines by hinting he’d like to be released from his contract, a request which UFC President Dana White declined to offer.

While Johnson said both he and Diaz like to stand and trade punches, he isn’t at all worried about grappling with Diaz on the mat, where the brash young fighter has earned several submission wins.

“He’s not taking me down,” Johnson said. “His wrestling isn’t sharp enough to take me down. The only way we get on the ground is when I drop him and I jump on to finish him and I don’t. That’s the only way.”

And if Johnson gets the fight, he’d like it to be on the biggest stage possible.

“I would love to be the co-main event on a pay-per-view,” Johnson said. “Me and Nate Diaz doing that, that would be a good one.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to http://www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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