Michael Johnson still has a long road in front of him before he earns a shot at the UFC lightweight title.
Given his forward progress against Edson Barboza at Fight Night 61, however, he seems capable of covering that distance fairly expeditiously.
Johnson’s pressure told the tale on Sunday, as he got in Barboza’s face early and stayed there for three full rounds en route to a unanimous-decision victory (29-28, 30-27 x 2). The win extended his current streak to four, and it will likely move him into the 155-pound Top 10 when the UFC’s official rankings come out next week.
“Edson is a great competitor, but I wasn’t going to stop for 15 minutes …,” Johnson told play-by-play announcer Jon Anik in the cage after it was over. “I’m here for this division. I want the belt by the end of this year, and this is what I have to do to take it.”