Michael Johnson has been campaigning night and day to get a fight with top ranked lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov, but his next opponent has come in entirely different circumstances. Ross Pearson has suffered a knee injury which has forced him out of his rematch with Melvin Guillard, and Johnson is the man that will step in at the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 37.
‘The Menace’ has looked impressive lately, with wins over top lightweight veterans Joe Lauzon and Gleison Tibau, coming into both fights as a significant underdog. This two fight win streak has emerged after a two fight losing streak that saw Johnson on the brink of being cut, and possibly would have done with a loss to Lauzon. However, now, Johnson’s future looks very different – a win over Guillard could push the American into title contention.
Guillard, meanwhile, has had a completely opposite path in his recent UFC career – just a win or two away from a title shot and considered a serious contender, Melvin lost four in five leading to a career defining fight with Mac Danzig. Guillard came out on top of that fight in impressive fashion, winning a second round knockout before being matched up with Ross Pearson at the last UFC event in the UK.
The Guillard vs. Pearson matchup ended in controversial circumstances, being ruled a No Contest due to unintentional illegal knees, though many considered the knees legal. The rematch was an intriguing one as Guillard seemed to be getting the better hand of the short first fight, but that fight has been scratched off and replaced by an equally intriguing one. With a win over Michael Johnson, Guillard will skyrocket himself back into the mix at lightweight, while a win for Johnson will just solidify his status in the division.
UFC Fight Night 37 goes down on 8 March, at O2 Arena in London, England.