Lavar Johnson lost his last two fights inside the Octagon in ugly fashion, but the UFC brass has determined "Big" still deserves a spot with the promotion.
Following the recent overhaul of the UFC's roster and president Dana White's claim that "There's 100 more guys that are gonna go," Johnson had plenty of reason to fear a bad-news-bearing phone call or text message after his recent loss.
However, last night, five days after his unanimous decision loss to Brendan Schaub at UFC 157, Johnson tweeted:
Lavar Johnson @LavarJohnson
Thank God, I still have a job with the ufc!3/1/2013, 3:32:37 AM
As MMAJunkie.com originally reported, Johnson's tweet does not necessarily ensure his continued employment, but it does mean that he is out of the woods for now.
Johnson's style—the hulking heavyweight has posted 15 knockouts in 17 career victories—undoubtedly played a huge role in the company's decision.
After starting his UFC career with back-to-back knockouts of Joey Beltran and Pat Barry at UFC on FOX 2 and 3, respectively, Johnson's furious fists became the stuff of nightmares for the heavyweight roster.
However, in his two most recent outings, Johnson's opponents—Stefan Struve and Brendan Schaub—elected to put their own striking games on hold in favor of a more conservative approach on the ground.
Struve found success in this area immediately, as he pulled guard and quickly transitioned to a fight-ending armbar in Round 1. Schaub, on the other hand, grounded Johnson for the full 15 minutes before earning a judges' decision.
Schaub, who came into his fight with Johnson on a two-fight losing streak of his own, did the smart thing to secure the win. However, with the UFC's refusal to cut Johnson, one now must wonder if the safe, wrestle-first game plans are worth the fans' backlash and criticism.
In today's UFC more than ever, being exciting holds precedent over everything else, and Johnson is just that. He is an explosive finish waiting to happen, and it appears for now that fans will be treated to at least one more appearance from Big before his moment in the sun fades into the shadows of obscurity.
Who do you think should be next for Johnson? Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter, @HunterAHomistek, and we'll talk about it.
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