UFC: Anthony Johnson Details The Inspiration For His Comeback
Anthony Johnson last competed inside the Octagon on April 6th 2017, against Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight title. After losing via rear naked choke in the second round, the now 36 year old retired inside the Octagon. Now, three years on, ‘Rumble’ is on the verge of coming out of retirement.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Johnson opened up on how he’s feeling back in training and what weight class we could see him return in.
“I feel good. I’m healthy, aside from the typical injuries, bruises and stuff like that. I’m 230, 235 [pounds], somewhere around that, so I don’t mind going down to light heavy or just staying at heavy. I’ll fight in both weight classes.
“Everything’s open. I feel good. I’ll probably go down to light heavyweight, but I’m not against staying up and fighting at heavyweight. Everybody in both weight classes are very talented, so I’m looking forward to the challenges that I’ve got coming.”
Although Johnson says he had had enough of MMA when he retired three years ago, ‘Rumble’ now states that he’s found his passion again for the sport and the many different facets of the fight game.
“No excuses, I was really done. I wanted nothing more to do with MMA,” Johnson said. “I didn’t want to work on grappling anymore, I didn’t want to do any wrestling, I got tired of punching and kicking and all that stuff. I was really checked out. I would say this: I probably wasn’t as mature back then, either. I’ve had time to reflect on a lot of things and grow as a person.
“I don’t mind getting on the ground now and rolling around. Obviously I did a grappling match. I did a sumo match, so obviously rolling around and doing all that weird stuff is not out of the norm now.”
Although adventures outside the cage that motivated him to get back into training, there was one particular fight that really made Johnson want to get back inside the Octagon.
“[It was] DC and Stipe 2 (Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic at UFC 241). I was actually watching them fight, saw them fight, and that was actually probably the third or fourth fight I’d watched since I retired. When I said I was done with MMA I was really done with MMA. At least, mentally I felt like I was done. I saw them fight, saw them go at it. They were the two best guys at that time. They displayed so much skill and talent. Everybody else probably saw a normal fight where they weren’t doing that much, but I saw skill, talent, the timing, the setups. Everything was at such a high level. It just made me say, ‘You know what, I can still do that, so I’m going to go out there and give it a shot.’”
Not only is Johnson going to give it a shot, he says he’s coming for the title.
“I want to beat whoever has the belt, [and] most likely Jon will have the belt,” Johnson said. “I should be fighting by the end of the year.”
Johnson has been busy since he last competed inside the Octagon. He took up a fighter relations role with the Bare Knuckle FC. And just recently was seen taking part in a sumo wrestling match against UFC Heavyweight, Curtis Blaydes.
Who would you like to see Anthony Johnson fight inside the Octagon when he returns?