Exclusive | Anthony Johnson Talks WSOF, Tyrone Spong & Jones-Sonnen | MMA NEWS

October 24, 2012 10:31 am by Bryan Levick


Light Heavyweight prospect Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is preparing to compete at 205lbs. for the third time on November 3rd. I say prospect because although Johnson has 17 career fights, the majority of them were contested in the welterweight division where Johnson was cutting a dramatic amount of weight.

Despite the fact that he was putting his body through hell, Johnson still managed to be very successful in one of the UFC’s toughest divisions. “Rumble” compiled a 7-2-1 record before UFC President Dana White convinced him to move up to the middleweight division. We all know what happened there, he missed the 185lb. limit and his bout with Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 was changed to a catchweight bout of 197lbs.

Shortly after losing to Belfort, Johnson was released and after one more unsuccessful attempt at making a run as a middleweight, Johnson and his team decided that moving up to light heavyweight was the way to go. So far things are going to according to plan as he has defeated both of his opponents in convincing fashion.

As he prepares to face D.J. Linderman on the inaugural World Series of Fighting card, Johnson is very grateful for all of the support and opportunities he has received. Competing for the WSOF is something he is extremely proud of and is looking forward to helping them achieve long term success.

“As far as preparing for Linderman is concerned, I feel great,” Johnson told BJPenn.Com Radio. “Everything is going according to the plan, my camp has been good. I’m healthy, I don’t have any injuries and I feel great. With each fight I feel more comfortable at 205 and I’m getting used to the weight. I’m finally a happy man, I don’t have to cut nearly as much weight as I used to. I still have to cut 20lbs. to fight at 205, but I feel great. It’s an honor to fight for the WSOF, Ray Sefo has been a big inspiration for me. He’s been through the battles and understands what we go through. I think the WSOF could be a big thing and I’m honored to be part of the first show.”

“If the WSOF plays their cards right and I think they will they are going to be around for awhile. A lot of people come in and try to compete with the UFC, but that’s where they make their mistake. You can’t compete with an organization that’s been around for so long and is so strong. WSOF has guys who have been in battles and been in the business for a long time. Sefo has been a fighter and a trainer so he knows the ins and outs of the business.”

One of Johnson’s teammates is also fighting on the WSOF card, Tyrone Spong has played an integral role in helping Johnson enhance his standup and become the beast Spong believes he can be. In turn, Johnson sees a bright future in mixed martial arts for the kickboxing legend.

“I think Tyrone will be just fine, he comes from a Dutch style kickboxing background and he’s super tough,” said Johnson. “I’ve gotten more aggressive since I moved up to 205, I have been putting pressure on my opponents. Spong and coach Ernesto Hoost are the ones who taught me to fight like that. Spong is as tough as they come, he’s been in there with the best kickboxers and now he’s working with some of the best fighters in MMA.”

The buzz in MMA over the past week has centered around the announcement of Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen coaching opposite one another on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter. The two will then meet in April for Jones’ light heavyweight championship, something that many feel Sonnen hasn’t rightfully earned.

“I think there are other people in front of Sonnen, but who doesn’t want to see Jones and Sonnen fight,” asked Rumble. “Chael is the king of talk and Jon is the champ. I respect both of them, I think Chael is going to do what he does best and that’s move forward and take some punches. Jon is going to do what he does best and find a way to win. Jon is smart, I understand why he didn’t take the fight with Chael the first time it was offered to him. He likes to study his opponents, he knows them from head to toe and that’s one of the reasons he turned it down initially. Now that he’s had time he’s willing to take the chance against Sonnen and he’s going to do fine.”

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