Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Johnson is looking seriously slimmed-down ahead of his upcoming debut with Bellator MMA.
Johnson retired after a loss to Daniel Cormier in 2017, but has since teased a comeback on numerous occasions. That comeback finally became official earlier this year, when he signed with Bellator to much fanfare.
Not long thereafter, Johnson was matched up with former UFC middleweight title challenger Yoel Romero in what is viewed as one of the most compelling matchups of the year so far on paper. The bout will serve as one of four opening-round bouts of Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Ahead of fight with Romero, Johnson looks to be in tremendous shape. In fact, he looks like a completely different person than he did in the midst of his retirement.
Ahead of his Bellator debut, Johnson has made it clear that he expects some very tough challenges in the promotion’s cage—starting with Romero.
“I’m just ready to go and fight,” Johnson said on The Spaniard Show with his former opponent Charlie Brenneman (via MMA Fighting). “I look forward to the competition that’s out there. I think we can compete with the UFC with what we have. A lot of people think that just because the Bellator promotion isn’t what the UFC promotion is that the fighters aren’t the same calibre, and there’s always levels to everything. Every business, every promotion. But Bellator is no joke.
“Look at my guy, my teammate Michael Chandler went over there and destroyed Dan Hooker,” Johnson continued. “Smoked him. But I knew that was coming. I’m like, y’all don’t realize how dangerous Michael Chandler is. And even though he came from a smaller promotion, he’s still an elite fighter. He wasn’t there being the champ and fighting the best of the best for no reason. He went to war with Eddie Alvarez and to me, Eddie Alvarez is for sure the greatest fighter ever in my opinion because he’s been to every organization and won the title. People don’t give that man credit.”
How do you think Anthony Johnson will perform in the Bellator cage?