Anthony Johnson retired from the UFC following a second loss to Daniel Cormier in April of 2017. Yet, the man they call “Rumble” is eyeing a comeback, according to his manager Ali Abdelaziz.
Abdelaziz spoke to ESPN, and divulged that his client will return in 2020. They are currently filing the necessary paperwork to rejoin the UFC. One of the steps he must complete is to re-enter the USADA testing pool and be in it for six months before he can fight again.
When Anthony Johnson does return, it will also be at heavyweight according to Abdelaziz. The hope is he can return against a ranked opponent like Junior dos Santos or Alistair Overeem, Abdelaziz revealed.
It is somewhat surprising to see Rumble want to return as this is a major departure from what he said when he retired. He revealed he had no itch to return and stepped away due to health concerns.
“My health, man,” Johnson said on Booker T’s Heated Conversations podcast (h/t 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.”
Johnson is currently 35 years old old and will be 36 next March. He retired with a record of 22-6 and never captured a UFC belt. He had fought for the title two times and lost both times to Cormier.
When he returns there will be a bevy of interesting fights for him, potentially even a long-awaited scrap with Jon Jones — if Jones decides to move to heavyweight.
Who do you think Anthony Johnson should fight in his return to the Octagon?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/27/2019.