Anthony Johnson Targets 2020 For Return To The UFC
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Anthony "Rumble" Johnson is planning to end his retirement and return to active competition.
The UFC’s heavyweight division might be losing Daniel Cormier, but they could be gaining another big-time name in the coming months.
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, a two-time challenger for the light heavyweight title, is planning a return to action after retiring in 2017. Johnson’s manager told ESPN that they have started the process, which includes re-entry into the UFC’s drug testing program.
The 35-year-old Johnson was unable to avenge a previous loss to Cormier when they met for the title two years ago, falling via submission and announcing his retirement inside the Octagon. Johnson has remained around the combat sports world, helping to promote Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. Related: Anthony “Rumble” Johnson Joins Forces With Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship
Anthony Johnson’s Retirement Announcement
Before he can return to action, Johnson will need to be in the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s drug testing pool for six months.
After competing as low as welterweight and middleweight, Johnson did make an appearance at heavyweight in his career. While fighting for World Series of Fighting, Johnson took on former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski, earning a decision.
WSOF: Anthony Johnson Vs. Andrei Arlovski
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With Stipe Miocic sitting atop the division, a potential rematch with Cormier looming, and not many big-name fighters on the cusp of contention, Johnson could find himself quickly in the title picture upon his return. He holds a victory over Bellator heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader among others during his career. Related: Anthony Johnson Outlines Condition For Return Fight Vs. Jon Jones
Johnson, a native of Dublin, Georgia who currently trains out of the Combat Club in Boca Raton, Florida, holds the UFC record for sub-minute knockouts with five. He transitioned from a career in wrestling that included a junior college national title to mixed martial arts in 2006 with a finish of Jonathan Romero.
After winning his first three pro bouts on the regional circuit, Johnson was signed by the UFC in 2007 and earned a 13-second knockout of Chad Reiner. He suffered his first loss later that year to Rich Clementi via submission.
Johnson holds wins over the likes of Dan Hardy, Phil Davis, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira during his career. He has won five “Performance of the Night” bonuses, two “Knockout of the Night” and one “Fight of the Night.”
Along with his MMA career, Johnson has appeared in the 2011 film “Warrior.”