Johnson says Poirier paid price for underestimating him and says trash-talking motivated him (w/Cervantes Analysis)

By Jonathan Cervantes, MMATorch contributor

Michael Johnson knocking out Dustin Porier at UFC Fight Night (photo credit Sean Pokorny © USA Today Sports)

Michael Johnson scored an upset win last night over Dustin Poirier, who was favored. It may have been case of Poirier going in overconfident, something discussed among the FS1 post-event panel. Was Poirier talking about first beating Johnson, then taking on division champ Eddie Alvarez next, a sign of overconfidence? Johnson thinks so.

“Whenever a fighter feels untouchable, it’s the biggest mistake he can make,” he said during a post-fight interview. “My back was against the wall. I had to fight my way off of it.”

He said Poirier’s pre-fight words demeaning him was motivating, and he feels vindicated with his performance. “He called me a nobody and he just got beat by a nobody, and beat badly,” he said.

That may account for Johnson’s unsportsmanlike profanity-laced outburst aimed at Poirier while he was being tended to by medics and the referee after the fight, which he promptly and seemingly sincerely apologized for.

Cervantes Analysis: Michael Johnson shocked everyone last night with his upset victory over Poirier. Having lost his last two fights, it was very much a possibility that the UFC would cut him had he lost and it was impressive that he was able to maintain his composure in a high-pressure situation like that. Johnson just halted the momentum of a fighter who was on a four-fight win streak and was on the cusp of earning a title shot, putting Johnson back on the fast-track for big-name fights against the top contenders of the division.

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