Heading into his fight with Jonathan Brookins on Saturday night, Michael Johnson is a fighter who is happy for second and third chances.
See, Johnson’s trip to the twelfth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” wasn’t his first time trying out for the show. Actually it was his third attempt to make his way into the reality show house.
Johnson originally tried out for both Season 8 and Season 9 and came razor close both times, but it just didn’t work out. He kept his chin up, and just kept trying.
“I tried out for Season 8 and Season 9. Season 8, I thought I had a really good shot at it, and they called me out to Vegas for a second callback and I was feeling really good about it, and then I got really disappointed,” Johnson explained.
“Season 9, I came back and I didn’t make the callbacks. In the back of my mind I was like, maybe I’m not going to make this?”
Johnson got knocked down a little bit missing out on the casting for both seasons of the show, but once he picked his head up, he was more determined than ever to make his dream of fighting in the UFC come true.
Before he got the chance to make his way to the Octagon without making the reality show, the casting call went out for “The Ultimate Fighter Season 12” and the lightweights were once again on the docket. Johnson knew he had to take one more shot at making the show.
“When this season’s tryouts came up, I had a week to raise the money and actually get out there,” Johnson said. “It was just a different attitude. It was more laid back, nonchalant, like, ‘Hey you guys, I’m still going to tryout here no matter what, but I mean I’m going to be persistent, I’m going to keep trying out till you guys pick me.'”
Persistence paid off as the producers and upper brass at the UFC saw the moxy in Johnson’s desire to fight for them, and gave him the chance on his third try to make the reality show cast.
Johnson believes it all worked out the best for him in the end. Obviously making the finals of the show might lend to that feeling, but Johnson knows that now he truly is ready and able to make the most of his “Ultimate Fighter” experience.
“I think it was almost a blessing in disguise that I didn’t make Season 8 and Season 9,” said Johnson. “Because Season 12 I’m in the finale with a great fighter, Jonathan Brookins, I had the best coach, one of the best fighters in the world, GSP, so I mean the timing couldn’t be any more perfect.”
Johnson will look to keep the charm rolling right into Saturday night when he faces Jonathan Brookins for the chance to become the next “Ultimate Fighter” champion.