5 Fights for Michael Johnson to Take Next: UFC on FX 5 Results & Look Ahead

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2012

5 Fights for Michael Johnson to Take Next: UFC on FX 5 Results & Look Ahead

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    Michael Johnson continues his ascent up the lightweight division with a big knockout victory over Danny Castillo.

    After nearly being finished in the first round by Castillo, Johnson roared back and looked settled in during the second frame. The quick Blackzilian fighter dropped Castillo and then his follow-up shots shut out the lights.

    The win is Johnson's third in a row.

    As Johnson begins to make his case for being a lightweight contender, here are five fights the lightweight can take next.

Winner of Mark Bocek vs. Rafael Dos Anjos

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    Mark Bocek vs. Rafael dos Anjos is slated to go down at UFC 154 in November. Whoever wins that fight will have three victories in a row just like Johnson.

    Dos Anjos has beaten Kamal Shalorus and Anthony Njokuani, and Bocek has toppled Nik Lentz and John Alessio.

    The fight between the winner at 154 and Johnson would be a nice contender eliminator for a stacked division. The top of the lightweight division is already packed with potential title challengers who are waiting in the wings.

    This fight allows the competitors to continue to hone their skills, and work their way slowly into the mix at 155.

Matt Wiman

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    Matt Wiman may not have been high on the rankings prior to UFC on Fuel: Struve vs. Miocic, but after submitting the undefeated Paul Sass, he has re-entered everyone's radar.

    If nothing else, this fight would be electric.

    Over the years, Wiman has been one of the division's most exciting fighters. This fight would probably not be any different.

    While the fight would be exciting and test both athletes, it would not do much for the rankings in the division. A win does not elevate the winner as much as it sends the loser to the back of the line. However, with a jam-packed division it may not be a bad move to see if one or the other can be super impressive with a finish.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

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    Khabib Nurmagomedov is largely unknown to the casual fan, but is 2-0 in the UFC and 18-0 in his career.

    This could be the perfect fight to move the winner of this fight into the upper echelon of the division. Nurmagomedov is no slouch as his record proves, but Johnson would be a great next step in his career.

    Johnson's grappling would be put to the test against the relentless Nurmagomedov, something he needs to be able to prove he can stop before reaching greater heights at 155.

    This would be a great fight to showcase both prospects and move the winner in the limelight.

TJ Grant

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    TJ Grant is undefeated at lightweight in the UFC.

    Shane Roller, Carlo Prater, and Evan Dunham are on his list of victims. Grant has looked phenomenal at the new weight and a matchup against Johnson would serve both men well.

    In Johnson's three fight streak, he has fought wrestlers and strikers, but Grant poses different challenges for the former Ultimate Fighter cast member. Grant is a skilled and seasoned submission artist. On the flip side, the fight will allow us to see how Grant handles the speed and power of Johnson.

    This would be a good fight to test each fighter in areas they have yet to be tested in.

Jim Miller

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    One theme in each of these fights has been pitting Johnson against someone with a good ground game, and Miller's is one of the best in the division.

    If the UFC chooses to throw Johnson into the deep end of the lightweight division for his next fight there is no better option than Miller.

    Miller is coming off a submission loss to Nate Diaz in a lightweight title eliminator, and is certainly still one of the very best in the division.

    If Johnson wants to fight one of the top-ranked at 155 then Miller should get the call. In all likelihood, the winner of the bout would only be one more fight out of title contention, and that is where both men would love to be.

    Three increasingly impressive showings by Johnson have earned him a more high-profile bout. Miller would be a great candidate to stand opposite him inside the Octagon.