“Me and Michael Johnson were never really friends. We were just training partners,” said Guillard leading up to the fight, adding, “If I had to say who got the better of each other, about 80 percent of the time I knew I got the best of him.”
That may or may not have been the case, but in London it was Johnson that got the better of the fight.
Guillard was content to hang back and try to draw Johnson into his powerful counter-punching, but Johnson would have none of it. Despite Guillard’s trash-talking prior to the fight and his baiting approach during the fight, Johnson wasn’t going to be suckered into an all-out brawl.
“I’m extremely frustrated for all the BSing he was talking before the fight,” said Johnson. “I expected him to come out here and try to finish me. But I wasn’t going to expose myself and just fought my fight.
“I try to stay disciplined and do what my coaches tell me and win the fight.”
Johnson was disciplined, walking Guillard down throughout the fight, also showing an amazing amount of speed, darting in and out of Guillard’s punching range, landing leg kicks and two and three-part punch combinations almost at will.
The runner-up during season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter, Johnson has since been hard at work, particularly on his stand-up game, and it showed on Saturday night.
His head movement, his footwork, and his hand speed and timing were above and beyond Guillard’s. He wasn’t able to finish the fight, but he beat Guillard to the punch throughout the bout, earning a unanimous nod from the judges.
“I think I got the best stand-up in this division and I’m willing to show that again anybody,” said Johnson.
He will now get the chance to prove it as the win over Guillard adds to a streak that also includes wins over Gleison Tibau and Joe Lauzon. With those three names to his credit, it’s time for Johnson to try and move into the upper echelon of the lightweight division.
(Follow @KenPishna on Twitter)