Anthony Johnson eligible for UFC return in early 2021 after re-entering USADA pool

Anthony Johnson
Image via @AnthonyRumble on Instagram (photographer not listed)

Anthony Johnson is eligible to return to the UFC’s Octagon in early 2021 after re-entering the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool.

In April 2017, the heavyweight fighter came up short in his second shot at UFC light heavyweight gold when he fought former champion, Daniel Cormier. Despite his submission loss in the second round, he was still regarded as one of the top 205-pound fighters, and his subsequent retirement from MMA shocked fans around the world.

In recent months, Johnson has been teasing a possible comeback and now, he has made his plans official by reentering the USADA testing pool.

According to his manager at Dominance MMA, Ali Abdelaziz, he is back in the system to get tested and will be eligible to fight in February 2021, in approximately six months’ time.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto confirmed the news on Twitter.

Following up on my report last week, Anthony Johnson (@Anthony_Rumble) has, in fact, entered the UFC/USADA testing pool, per his manager Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00). He has to test six months before he’s eligible to compete. February 2021, Rumble returns.”

The news is somewhat surprising given that Rumble previously declared that he had retired for good. He cited health risks including brain injury in fighting for the reason why he doesn’t intend on fighting again.

“My health, man,” Johnson said on Booker T’s Heated Conversations podcast (via the Daily Star). “You hear about CTE and all this other stuff. Head injuries. You’re harming your body playing football and stuff like that, but this stuff can happen just as fast in mixed martial arts as any other sport because we’re constantly beating on each other. I love myself, you know what I’m saying? A lot of guys don’t think about that.”

What do you make of Anthony Johnson’s planned UFC comeback?