On January 14th, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson meets Vitor Belfort in “The Phenom’s” backyard of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for UFC 142. When he was asked by MMAFightCorner.com about whether there was pressure of fighting a famed Brazilian in Brazil, Johnson seemed indifferent of the situation.
“…like I approach every other fight. You know, he’s human, he’s a man, he’s a fighter just like I am. I’m going to go in to win and dominate. I’m going to really go in there and try and take his soul.”
“I have a lot of Brazilian friends, and they support me a lot, but they aren’t the country of Brazil. You know, fighting in Brazil, to me, if they want to boo me that’s fine, because I’m going to still fight hard no matter what. They can cheer for me or boo me, it doesn’t matter to me, because the one thing about it, you know, being a wrestler at heart, the coach teaches you when going up through wrestling, we learn how to be so mentally strong through pretty much anything, and you know, I just block people out, you know what I mean, and just do what I’ve got to do. So, that’s when that mental aspect of the game plays a big part, like you going to let the crowd get to you, or you going to use it as fuel and energy and just, you know, make it make you go in there and go harder than ever before just to prove everybody wrong? So, if they boo me, they boo me, and if they cheer for me, thanks, you know, but regardless, at the end of the night, I’m going to make sure I fight to the best of my ability, no matter what.”
Both men certainly pack power and are coming off of KO and TKO victories. With 7 out of 11 of Johnson’s victories stemming from knockouts, Johnson was asked whether he would stand up with Belfort, or whether he would implement a similar grinding, ground and pound game plan he used against Dan Hardy.
“Yeah, I’m definitely not afraid to bang with him, so that’s for sure. I’ll punch him in the mouth just as quick as he’ll punch me in the mouth. You know, that’s just me, I’ll stand and bang with anybody, you know. But I mean, I think now that I’m getting more confident in my abilities and training different and having better training partners, you know, the more my skills are starting to be shown. You know, I’m starting to wrestle more. I’m still striking, I’m still throwing punches and kicks and stuff like that. You know, you just never know, man. I’m starting jiu-jitsu now, you know what I’m saying? I might pull off an arm bar.”
“I don’t know man, whatever Vitor gives me. If I see an opening, of course I’m going to take it. You know, when I fought Hardy, you know, it’s just like, when I see an opening, I automatically just shoot for it as soon as I see an opening. Some people are hesitant to do stuff when they see an opening, not me. Like, when I saw Hardy right in front of me, he really wasn’t moving. When I threw that leg kick, I saw that opening for a split second, and all of a second my leg popped up. It’s just something natural in me to do, you know what I do, and when I saw how tall he was standing, I shot on him, you know what I mean? And I saw how weak he was off of his back, so of course I’m going to use my strength against his weakness, you know? And if that’s the case with Vitor, I’ll wrestle the hell out of Vitor, and if he’s having an off night as far as standup, I’ll strike him then, you know what I mean? It doesn’t really matter to me where they want to take the fight. You know, if Vitor wants to try and shoot on me and think he can take me down, more props to me, you know what I mean? I’m going to fight everything, no matter what.”
As comfortable as he is with the fight and where it will take place, Anthony Johnson also voiced how he’s the most comfortable he’s been in a long time in terms of his health and conditioning.
“…I feel great. I haven’t had any injuries this camp. That’s a first. Man, this camp has been amazing. I’ve been learning so much, the intensity in the gym and with the team has been so great. Like I said, these guys, we push each other so hard to be better, and just the overall talent level is just so good. You know, with our gym, you just can’t be an average person and just come and train with us. You have to be an athlete for real to come and just step foot in that gym and hang with us. You know, I had a friend, his name was Chris, he’s been begging me to come to the gym over and over, saying he wants to train. And he came in and he just sat down, and after he saw us start warming up, how we were warming up, and I’ve never seen that before. And in other gyms, the way we warm up and the way we train, I’ve never trained like that before. And I’ve had, you know, a pretty good career so far, and I thought I was doing everything pretty good, but now I know I’m doing everything right compared to all the other camps I’ve been at. It’s just the people I have around me, the good energy, the good coaches — everything’s positive with this team, with this gym, and just in life in general.”
While José Aldo and Chad Mendes will headline UFC 142, Johnson and Belfort will host the co-main event. With both fighters being heavy handed, UFC 142’s middleweight matchup is shaping up to be full of fireworks.featured, MMA NEWS, Strikeforce, strikeforce news, ufc news