Michael Johnson Calls out Nate Diaz

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2014

Aug 17, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Joe Lauzon (left) and Michael Johnson (right) fight during a UFC lightweight match at the TD Garden. Johnson won by judges decision. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a second-round knockout of Gleison Tibau at UFC 168, lightweight rising star Michael Johnson is already searching for his next opponent.

Over the past few years, Johnson has been an up-and-down contender since losing The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 finale to then top prospect Jonathan Brookins by unanimous decision.

However, it often takes fighters time to find their formidable groove, especially in a promotion as big and competitive as the UFC.  At 27 years of age, "The Menace" may have found his stride.

That means it's time to make a serious run at a championship.  There's no quicker way to do that than to call out divisional standout and former top contender Nate Diaz, which is exactly what the Blackzilian did Thursday morning via Twitter (originally reported by MMA underground):

Johnson has emphatically said he'll fight anyone who stands in his way, but now it seems as if he's confident enough to step inside the cage with a brawler like Diaz.

Now while a bout with a guy outside of the division's Top 10 isn't going to propel Diaz to an immediate title fight opposite Anthony Pettis, it would help his case to challenge the winner of Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson.

As for the rapidly evolving Johnson, a victory over a big name like Diaz would instantly make him a ranked man, not to mention a marked one.  He'd be able to take that momentum and potentially fight for a title sometime in early 2015, assuming he can stay successful throughout the year.

In any case, both lightweights would show up on Fight Night and give absolutely everything they had.  Never shy of a war, Johnson and Diaz could end up being one of the best fights of 2014.

Lets hope the California bruiser accepts the challenge, doesn't wait for a title shot and stays active while "Showtime" is sidelined.


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