Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (20-4) will make his return to the UFC this Saturday at UFC 172, when he takes on fourth ranked “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (14-1) in the co-main event of the PPV–now two weight classes above what he initially fought at in his first UFC stint.
Johnson’s first run in the UFC was cut short in 2012 after he was released from the promotion for missing weight for a 3rd time. Johnson competed in 10 fights, going 6-4 with notable wins over Dan Hardy and Charlie Brenneman. But after his first change in weight classes in his career (to middleweight), Johnson missed weight in a fight against Vitor Belfort and was released from the UFC following a submission loss to ‘The Phenom’.
“I should have been here two years ago,” Johnson laughed. “but things happen for a reason and I’m not going to complain. I’m glad that I fought at 170 because if I didn’t fight at 170, I really wouldn’t be in the situation that I’m in right now.”
Following his release, Anthony Johnson went an undefeated 6-0 (including 4 knockouts) outside the UFC, competing for Titan FC, Xtreme Fight Night, and World Series of Fighting. Competing the majority of the fights at light heavyweight, as well as one fight at heavyweight, Johnson defeated the likes of David Branch, Jake Rosholt, Andrei Arlovski, and Mike Kyle.
Johnson’s mindset being back in the UFC after two years has not changed and does not feel any added pressure.
“Well my mindset is just go in there and do what I got to do. Don’t worry about the lights, camera, action and stay focused. Just like it’s been since I left the UFC.”
As for Anthony’s opponent Saturday night, ‘Rumble’ sent a message to the former NCAA D1 national champion wrestler, as he will be seeking another knockout against Phil Davis.
“To me, I plan on just knocking him out. He’s going to have a tough time taking me down,” Johnson said. “Of course my game is stand up, but we’ll see, Phil is an awesome athlete, comes from a great gym. So I really respect him and really eager to see what he can do against me.”
“This is mixed martial arts, I have no idea, I just have to make sure I’m prepared for it all. I’ve been working on my ground non-stop, and I’m always working on my stand up. We’ll see, I’m not worried about Phil, I just want to make sure Phil is worried about me.”
The full interview conducted by Bas Rutten and Kenny Rice on Inside MMA can be seen below: