Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Johnson has been teasing a return to the Octagon for some time. If he has his way, that return to action will occur in the summer of 2020.
Speaking with The Mac Life ahead of Saturday’s BKFC 9 card, Johnson shared the ideal timeframe for his return, explaining that a summer fight will give him time to slim down and get back into fighting shape.
“I’m trying to get my slim on, you know what I mean?” Johnson said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I was up to probably 280 and that was the worst I’ve ever been. That’s the worst anyone’s ever gonna see me and I’ll never be back up there again. But I needed it to happen. I needed to hit rock bottom as far as the way I was, going to the gym and taking care of myself. Going to the gym since I was eight, it can take a lot of wear and tear on any human being, so I’m glad I took the break that I took.
“I’m coming back now and I feel a lot better, my punches are stronger, harder, faster. The other day my coach said, ‘AJ, you’re still dangerous.’ He walked up to me after – this was the second time he saw me spar, because he’s been gone – he came up to me and said, ‘AJ, you’re still dangerous. You’re still very fast and punch hard.’ I’ve knocked out two people already in training in the first two days of sparring so I feel like everything is clicking.”
As Anthony Johnson suggests, these comeback plans will take him up to the heavyweight division. While he can expect some truly dangerous challenges in this division, he sounds excited about it.
“Right now I feel good being at 240,” Johnson said. “If I were to fight right now at heavyweight for 240, I’d feel just fine. I feel like I still have my strength. I’m definitely not going to be one of the bigger heavyweight guys, there’s some monsters at heavyweight, but my advantage would probably be speed over a majority of those guys. Everybody at heavyweight for the most part has power but I think I’m much faster than those guys and I’ll probably have a little bit more knockout power. Don’t take that from me, I’m just saying.
“Those guys at heavyweight are amazing. I look forward to fighting all of them.”
In the same interview, Johnson touched on his motivation to return. Apparently, he’s got the itch to show off his skills and hurt people — a frightening thought considering he’s arguably the hardest puncher in MMA history.
“We have to meet with the UFC some more,” Rumble said. “We have to go over things and just figure some stuff out but it’s all looking good so far. Nothing bad. I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth and say too much but everything’s looking good right now. I’m not worried.
“I was trying to shoot for April/May but maybe June/July. We’ll see. But whenever I come back I’m going to make sure it’s known. I want to come back and showcase everything and fight and just hurt people.”
Who do you want to see Anthony Johnson fight in his return to the cage?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/18/2019.