Earlier this month, unfortunate news surfaced that UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier had been forced out of his UFC 206 scrap with Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson on December 10th, and would be sidelined until March due to a torn adductor in his groin.
While the UFC began looking for a replacement opponent for ‘Rumble’, it wasn’t long before fight fans realized the odds of Johnson staying on the card were relatively slim given that he has not only defeated, but knocked out, all of the light heavyweights in the top 5.
With that being said, middleweights Tim Kennedy, who was set to face Rashad Evans at UFC 206, and Gegard Mousasi, who is riding a 4-fight win streak that most recently saw him TKO Uriah Hall in the main event of ‘UFC Fight Night Belfast’, both offered to step in and fight Johnson on short notice. Johnson turned down both fights, and all signs began to point to Johnson being pulled from the card.
Now, in an interview with Fox Sports, Johnson explains that he would be willing to take a fight at heavyweight if the opportunity arose:
“Yeah. I’ll fight heavyweight. If it’s a fun fight, I’d definitely try it out. I always said I was going to go up to heavyweight in the UFC before I retired anyways,” Johnson revealed. “I might as well try it out if I get the opportunity. There’s some good heavyweights out there. Those boys are big, so I’m definitely taking a big risk and a big chance fighting those guys. I look forward to the challenge.
“If I fight, it has to be at heavyweight because at 205, it’s just not worth it.”
This wouldn’t be Johnson’s first go at heavyweight, back in 2013, Johnson squared off against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski at WSOF 2, where he picked up a KO win, breaking Arlovski’s jaw in the process.
While Johnson didn’t mention ‘The Pitbull’ by name, he implied that a fight with Arlovski would certainly be one he is interested in for UFC 206.
“There might be,” Johnson said about specific fights he’s looking to take. “If some people out there that wanted to fight me again that’s at heavyweight, we’ll see if we can make that happen.”