Leading up to The Ultimate Fighter Finale, Michael Johnson did plenty to disrespect Justin Gaethje and his family.
Unfortunately for Johnson, his fighting didn’t back up his trash talk, as Gaethje (18-0) punished Johnson (17-12) into submission, earning a TKO victory in the second round.
The bout is one of the best in UFC history, rivaling the very first Ultimate Fighter Finale’s showdown between Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin.
The two refused to touch gloves before the bout and Johnson was aggressive from the bell, striking with hard right and left hands in succession. He stumbled Gaethje early, but the unbeaten contender came right back.
Johnson had Gaethje hurt late and had him rocked against the cage:
Gaethje survived the first frame, and all in all they traded more than 70 punches in the round. The second round started with much of the same before both guys gassed out.
Legs kicks set Gaethje up with punishing blows to the head, as he backed his opponent up and spent the second half of the fight waiting for Johnson to get up off the canvas.
It was clear “The Menace” had had enough, but a knee to the chin and a few more strikes gave referee John McCarthy a reason to stop the fight.
Back in May, Johnson said Gaethje was “out of his league.”
That led to trash talk leading into the bout, as Johnson said Gaethje was “incest” and asked if his mom had sex with his brother or her cousin:
Gaethje’s response wasn’t the best in the world, but he certainly answered in the Octagon.
Gaethje is unbeaten in his professional career, rattling off 17 consecutive victories through a series of other fighting promotions before landing in the UFC.
As for what’s next? Gaethje is calling out Conor McGregor at the lightweight division:
The majority of Gaethje’s fights have ended with KO or TKO, with one submission victory and just two decisions.
The loss follows Johnson’s up-and-down UFC tenure.
He’s won just once in his last five fights, a knockout victory over Dustin Poirier. With losses to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Nate Diaz in recent years, he’s certainly fighting the class of the division.
Johnson has fought in UFC since 2010.