It’s been a strange year for the UFC light-heavyweight division, but it could be all change once again in 2016…..
UFC light-heavyweight knockout artist Anthony Johnson will once again sharpen hi teeth in the octagon at UFC on FOX 18, this time against TUF alumn and rising contender Ryan Bader. ‘Darth’ represents a stern test with his wrestling and neat footwork, but it pays to remember that ‘Rumble’ has fought some of the best of the division throughout 2015. With a win over Alexander Gustafsson as his biggest scalp, Johnson also suffered a loss in his first UFC title fight.
Originally scheduled to face Jon Jones, Johnson eventually went up against Daniel Cormier at UFC 187 when ‘Bones’ was stripped of the title. With the vacant strap on the line, ‘Rumble’ fell by submission after getting ground down by ‘DC,’ but he tells UFC.com that he wouldn’t change this year for anything.
“It’s been amazing,” he said. “Like I said in a post on my Facebook page, regardless of the ups and downs, this year has been amazing, something I’ll live with and cherish forever, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
“I definitely feel like everything was for the better as far as my career and things like that,” he said. “Hopefully I showed everybody how much I’ve matured. I had my moments, but who doesn’t.”
Looking back on his fight with Cormier, Johnson says he still thinks about a rematch in the future, but that Jon Jones is both the real champion, and the fight he truly desires:
“I want to fight DC again, but at the end of the day, Jon is the original champion and he’s still the champion in my eyes,” Johnson said. “So I definitely want a chance to fight him. He’s the greatest ever at light heavyweight, and I’m all about challenges, so I want to see what I have to offer Jon Jones and I want to test myself and see what I can do against a guy of that caliber.”
On to the subjects of Ryan Bader and also Conor McGregor:
“He’s improving day in and day out,” Johnson said of his foe. “He used to just be a wrestler, but he knows how to strike now, he knows how to mix it up very well, he’s got good stamina and he’s a strong guy and a big guy who moves very well. There’s not anything that I can say that’s negative about Ryan. Ryan Bader is an awesome fighter.”
“Conor McGregor, and I’m using him as an example, did work his way up to being a champion,” Johnson said. “He beat the right people, but he also talked his way to the top. I feel like I had to grind my way to the top more than anybody with the highs and lows and ups and downs. So if I’m able to win the title, I wish I could describe how I would feel, but honestly, I don’t know.
“My emotions would probably be all over the place. I don’t know if I’d want to laugh, to cry, to stay quiet or scream. I don’t know if I’d want to stand up, I don’t know if I’d want to sit down,” Johnson added with a laugh. “I’ll probably just be the most confused person on the planet if that ever happens.”