Anthony Johnson Says He Has Always Wanted To Fight Ryan Bader


UFC light-heavyweight Anthony Johnson has truly put the demons of his past behind him; ‘Rumble’ scored a big decision win over Phil Davis at UFC 172, then absolutely steam rolled Anotnio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC on FOX 12. It seems the Blackzilians product has matured greatky during his time away, and has racked up an eight-fight win streak since his UFC 142 loss to Vitor Belfort.

Now linked to a potential brawl against top contender Alexander Gustafsson in Sweden, ‘Rumble’ spoke with about who he would like to fight next:

“Hopefully I’ll be able to fight in late October or something like that if there are any fights open,” Johnson said. “I was hoping I could fight Ryan Bader in late October and fight Gus on the Jon Jones card. That’s my idea. People finally want me to start calling people out, you know what I mean? I never did that before. But I’ve always wanted to fight Ryan Bader because I’ve always thought he was a tough fighter.”

Ryan Bader was recently victorious over highly-hyped Ovince St-Preux at UFC Fight Night 47, extending his win streak to three casting away much doubt about his legitimacy. A fight with Bader could certainly be an interesting one for the rankings, although as number five, Johnson may want to keep his attention on ‘The Mauler’, as he continues:

“It will be a good fight. Gus is taller than me, but I think we have the same amount of length of reach. So it’ll be interesting,” Johnson said. “Gus likes to move a lot and I like to stalk people and see what they have to offer. It will be a hell of fight. I definitely want to give the fans what they want to see.”

The Swedish star was unfortunate to be bumped from his rematch against the reigning champion Jon Jones, as a knee injury meant that Daniel Cormier was drafted in as a replacement for Gus. Talking of “DC” and “Bones”, “Rumble” says that their off-air ‘Hot Mic’ snippet was an unfortunate turn of events:

“(Those) two going at it, supposedly off camera, that was pretty crazy. I wish some of things that were said weren’t said, but hey, they’re not talking to me, so I don’t care,” Johnson said. “Jon is an awesome fighter, nobody can say he isn’t. He is amazing. As a person, I don’t know Jon, you know what I mean? I don’t know him personally, and I don’t care to know him or anything like that. I just know he is an athlete. I respect his abilities. He is doing things that other people can’t do.”

If Johnson stays on this path, then a title fight in the next year is a no-brainer. A win over either Gustafsson or “Darth” would arguably be the tipping point for the powerful Blackzilians fighter. Having dominated during his two-year stint outside the UFC, and now looking like a beast in the promotion’s 205-pound division, how long will it be before we see Johnson headlining an event?

I’d say that a fight against the number one in the division would be more than worthy of at least a Fight Night headliner, and Johnson has already stated he is willing to make the travel to Europe. Johnson vs. Bader or Gustafsson, or perhaps both, what do you think?

  • Bader is a tough fight for anybody. He needs to be a top 5 guy,think he's lost every top tier guy best faced. Bisping syndrome.

  • Stupid senseless fight, i dont care seeing… AT ALL!

    • No betting you on this one. DONT SEND YOUR SQUAT PIC for this one!

    • it will happen anyway. with jones injury he isnt fighting for the belt atleast a year and has to stay active. i dont think the ufc would risk throwing him in against gus, possibly kills a huge rematch, he isnt fighting rashad..hes gonna end up facing bader and davis/glover before he sees gold

      • If Gus is willing to fight Rumble, they'll make it for sure. Cause no other fight makes any sense for Gus, "IF" he takes another fight before the title fight.

        • any relevant opponent that keeps gus busy makes sense. gus losses to rumble then what? yea theres a new contender but rumble fighting for the belt cuts UFCs paycheck in half compared to jones/gus rematch

          • There are no other relevant opponents. Who would you suggest? Rashad is not ready to fight yet. Glover is booked, Mr Wonderful is booked. No one else that makes sense. He's not gonna wanna fight anyone from the Top 7-15, that would just be ridiculous and on top of that it would be a hard sell. That only leaves Rumble. He's on fire right now and he's top 5. Sure there's the risk of Gus losing (which i fully expect him to if he fights Rumble), but when options are limited like this.

            Sometimes you gotta make that hard decision. On top of that, if Rumble beats Gus his stock will go way and fans will wanna see him fight for the belt and I also fully expect Cormier to whoop Bones ass, so that could mean DC vs Rumble and Bones vs Gus in a perfect world but ofcourse the UFC is gonna milk the cow and make the rematch. I HATE IMMEDIATE REMATCHES !!!! Especially for the belt… I think it's a bad thing for the sport and it holds the division up.

  • He's saying the right things in saying he'd fight either Bader or Gus but I think he should keep calling out Gus since he's closer to a title shot. And it might just be me, but I think Bader might derail Johnson.

    • Granted anything can happen in a fight, I find it very hard to believe Bader can beat Anthony Johnson. Unlikely.

  • it looks like the UFC (dana) wants him to fight Gus and he sounds like he'd be willing to do it…but he probably thinks this would be a good chance to pick up some easy money along the way.

    He seems to be confident enough in his skill that he'd be willing to take the risk, so i say give him Bader.

    Seeing Rumble go up against Gus would be a great fight and if he can beat Gus then we have a legit contender for the title. If Gus can get the W then he has 1 less guy to worry about when he gets the belt.