Anthony Johnson continues to run through opponents since his release from the UFC last year. He’s remedied his inabilities to make weight by moving all the way up to heavyweight, besting Andrei Arlovski last night in Atlantic City.
While that may arguably be the biggest win of his career, his Blackzilians team at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center has been derided lately for a number of disheartening losses. Johnson doesn’t believe in that talk, and came to the defense of his team. He told MMA Junkie that losses are all part of the fight game:
"Every team has losses. Losses don't define who you are.”
"People always want to talk about the losses, not the wins. Everybody talks about Rashad's loss. Everybody talks about Alistair's loss. But Vitor Belfort is one of my training partners. He just high-kicked Michael Bisping (for a knockout win). You all talked about that for five minutes. You're all still talking about the losses we had. What about the wins we had?"
‘Rumble’ is trying to shift the focus to the positive, and Belfort’s impressive victory over Bisping was a great feat for the team.
However, that victory and Johnson defeating Arlovski have been the few bright spots in a tough stretch for the Blackzilians. Rashad Evans looked as flat as he ever has in losing to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156. To make matters worse, Alistair Overeem was knocked out by ‘Bigfoot’ Silva on the same card.
All of the sudden, a team that had nothing but respect and hype started to get deemed as a squad that talked the talk, but wasn’t walking the walk.
Johnson is looking to right that ship, and has had some success recently. But the Octagon is where the top competition exists, so people will naturally focus on the UFC wins and losses of the team.
Evans and Overeem, the team’s two flagship members, have taken a ton of flack. ‘Suga’ will have a chance to redeem himself soon, facing off with legend Dan Henderson at UFC 161. Overeem will have to wait, as he injured his quad in preparation to fight Junior dos Santos at UFC 160.
Although Johnson put the team in a good light last night with a win, they will have to do a lot more than that to clear the cobwebs out. They obviously have some of the most athletically gifted and talented fighters, but the team just hasn’t been the same since Coach Mike Van Arsdale left. Do you think the Blackzilians are back on the up-and-up? Or will they continue to be the squad who never lived up to the hype?