Thiago Tavares Out; Tony Ferguson Meets Michael Johnson at UFC on Fox 3

Michael Johnson (James Law/HeavyMMA)

Ferguson gets third opponent for May 5 card

Maybe the third time will be the charm for Tony Ferguson.

The Season 13 winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” now has his third opponent for his next fight. With Thiago Tavares pulling out with an injury, Ferguson now will face Michael Johnson at UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller.

UFC recently announced the opponent switch for the May 5 card, which will take place at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. UFC on Fox 3 will be headlined by a lightweight contenders fight between Nate Diaz and Jim Miller.

Ferguson (13-3, 3-0 UFC) will be looking to stay unbeaten in the UFC. He beat Ramsey Nijem with a first-round TKO to win Season 13 of “The Ultimate Fighter” last June, then followed it up with a doctor’s stoppage TKO win over Aaron Riley at UFC 135 in September and a unanimous decision win over veteran Yves Edwards at the TUF 14 Finale in December, arguably the biggest win of his career.

Ferguson was expected to face another veteran, Dennis Hallman, at the UFC on Fox 3 event. But when injury forced Hallman out, Tavares was tapped as his replacement. And now the injury bug has bitten Tavares, as well, making Johnson Ferguson’s third opponent. Tavares was announced as Hallman’s replacement only two weeks ago.

Johnson (10-6, 2-2 UFC) will be looking to put together his first UFC winning streak. The TUF 12 runner-up, who lost to Jonathan Brookins in that season’s finals, has been up and down since then. He scored a first-round TKO of Eddie Faaloloto at UFC on Versus 4 last June, but was submitted by Paul Sass at UFC on Versus 5 in October. He got back in the win column in January, though, with a unanimous decision victory over Shane Roller at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis in Chicago.

UFC on Fox 3 will be the promotion’s first visit to the Garden State since UFC 128 last March. The card will feature a main event lightweight fight between Nate Diaz and Jim Miller, a five-round bout that will headline the Fox network broadcast. Also booked for the card is a welterweight contenders fight between Josh Koscheck and Johny Hendricks; a heavyweight bout between Pat Barry and Lavar Johnson; and a middleweight fight between Alan Belcher and Rousimar Palhares.