Former lightweight contender Michael Johnson dropped down to the featherweight division in January and picked up his first win in the new weight class on Saturday defeating Andre Fili in the UFC Fight Night 135 co-main event.
Johnson lost his featherweight debut to Darren Elkins by rear-naked choke and found himself defending the same submission attempt in the second round against Fili. Fili changed levels after throwing a head kick and secured a takedown. He quickly took Johnson’s back and began working to lock on the choke. Johnson defended the submission attempt for over two minutes before spinning and gaining top control. He finished the round landing elbows to the head of Fili.
In the final frame, Johnson was taken down early but managed to quickly get back to his feet. He picked up the pace and looked to take Fili down. He continued to land left hands and outworked Fili. In the end, the judges scored the fight for Johnson by split decision. It was Johnson first win since 2016.
“It feels really good to get in here and get a win over a tough guy like Fili. I got that 145 cut. I got that win. It’s nonstop now baby,” said Johnson following the fight.
Johnson has name value, but declined to call out anyone as his next opponent. Instead, the 32-year old intends to go back to the gym and formulate a career strategy for the new weight class.
” I can’t call anyone out after a split decision win. I’ve got to get back to my coaches, work on a game plan and we’re going to go from there,” he said.