UFC light heavyweight title contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is looking to come out of retirement and is eyeing a heavyweight run. Following his loss to Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 210, Johnson dropped a bit of a bombshell and announced his retirement. It was his second title loss to Cormier, who also beat “Rumble” in 2015, and it ended Johnson’s three-fight winning streak.
If you recall, Johnson said in May that he was going to be venturing into the marijuana business, which would take him away from focusing on MMA full-time. He has cited concussions and the brain disease CTE as reasons why he doesn’t want to fight long term.
Johnson can’t just jump back into a fight. He would have to be in the USADA drug testing pool for six months before returning to competition. This would result in his next possible fight not happening until the second quarter of 2018 at the earliest.
During his first run with the UFC, he attempted to cut to welterweight. Following his release from the UFC, he wisely chose to fight at 205 pounds, rather than welterweight or middleweight. This decision paid off big for him as it resurrected his career in World Series of Fighting.
With all of that being said, Johnson is indeed making yet another weight class change. It should be noted that he’s only competed once at heavyweight when he picked up a unanimous decision win over Andrei Arlovski at WSOF 2 in March 2013.
Although many people believed that Johnson’s retirement after UFC 210 was going to be his final fight, it looks like it will not. The current UFC light heavyweight champion recently talked about Johnson’s attempt at a comeback during his podcast Talk & Talker (transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting). According to “DC,” it seems Johnson was just bitter about losing to him for the second time.
“So here’s the thing, there’s something that’s kind of bothering me right now and it’s news that Anthony Johnson is coming out of retirement. I feel like if he was going to retire maybe he should have stayed retired a little bit longer because when you do that, you come back this quick, it just kind of feels like ‘Oh you were mad because you lost, so you just quit’. Right? It’s not even a six-month retirement. So it feels kind of like you were mad because you lost, and you kind of just quit. That’s not the way things are supposed to be, you know?”
Despite the fact that they had a respectful relationship with each other in the past, fans may be surprised by Cormier’s comments now. According to the UFC Champion, their relationship soured before his fight against Jon Jones at UFC 214 in July due to the fact that he saw Johnson cozying up with Jones.
“Rumble Johnson and I have always been respectful with each other but something happened at UFC 214 that has forever made me change the way I’m going to interact with Anthony Johnson:
“I walk into the back of the weigh-ins for UFC 214, and there’s Rumble. And I go up to Rumble and he says ‘What’s up DC? You look good.’ Give him a hug, and I say ‘Hey man, I hope you’re enjoying your retirement. You seem happy. I wish you nothing but continued success,’ and I go about my business, much as you’d expect two guys who have competed and have respect for each other would interact.
“Then in walks Jon Jones, and I expect him to – a guy he was supposed to fight, and may at some point still fight – give him the same type of conversation and kind of keep it moving, as a man. But Jon walks in, they give each other the shake and the hug, and they talk a little bit, and the conversation seems like Anthony is almost giving him advice.
“[Later], I guess Jon’s putting on his shoes or something, and then Rumble walks up to him again but now they’re hugging. Legitimately hugging! Rumble’s leaning over while Jon’s tying his shoes, and Rumble’s leaning over and giving him advice.
“What the f**k kind of advice are you giving him? F**king what the f**k? Why are you so friendly? This is a guy that at some point you may have to fight. You’re his friend now? Why the f**k are you his friend? Are you just hoping that he wins because I beat you? What the f**k are you doing?”
Although the chances of Johnson and Jones fighting each are slim, this latest development could lead to a possible third fight with Cormier should Johnson end his retirement and return to light heavyweight instead of heavyweight.
The UFC light heavyweight champion got heated about Johnson’s actions. Thus, he called the former title contender “f**king soft.”
“I’m done dude. Rumble and I have no more relationship. What the f**k are you so friendly with a guy in your weight class for? F**k that. The competitor in you shouldn’t allow you to be that nice to that guy. In my mind, that dude is f**king soft. You should never be that f**king friendly with somebody, especially if it’s somebody that you may end up fighting. We can be respectful but you don’t need to be f**king friendly bobbing all over the place.
“The reality is, that s**t pissed me off. I’m not gonna be f**king friends with him anymore, I’m not gonna be f**king respectful with him anymore because who needs to be that f**king nice. Anybody that’s that nice has an ulterior motive, that’s my thought. F**k that.”