Dana White says Anthony Johnson ‘sort of disappeared’ following initial return plans

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

If you’re looking forward to the return of Anthony Johnson, Dana White’s update isn’t so encouraging.

Back in the summer of 2019, it was revealed that “Rumble” planned to make a comeback in the UFC heavyweight division. “Rumble” was shooting for a date in March but we’re now in mid-2020 and Johnson still hasn’t stepped back inside the Octagon.

Speaking to reporters during the UFC on ESPN 11 post-fight press conference, White addressed the status of “Rumble’s” return.

“You know what, there was talk about it for a minute and then it all stopped and he sort of disappeared again,” White said when discussing the status of Anthony Johnson’s return. “Listen, it is good because if you don’t wanna fight and if you walked away the first time, and you’re coming back for what? What are you coming back for? If it’s just a payday, he’s a smart kid he can go do a lot of other things man.”

White mentioned that the sport of MMA is constantly evolving and if you make comeback plans after years of letting things pass you by, it may not end well.

“This is a young man’s game,” White continued when speaking on Anthony Johnson. “These up and coming kids are savages. Look at this [Josh] Emmett and [Shane] Burgos fight. Both of those guys looking for the credit and the respect they feel they deserve. Those are the type of dudes you’re gonna fight. This is a young man’s game.”

Earlier this year, Johnson told MMAJunkie that the second bout between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier inspired him to aim for a comeback.

“(It was) DC and Stipe 2 (at UFC 241),” Johnson said. “I was actually watching them fight, saw them fight, and that was actually probably the third or fourth fight I’d watched since I retired. When I said I was done with MMA I was really done with MMA. At least, mentally I felt like I was done.

“I saw them fight, saw them go at it,” Johnson added. “They were the two best guys at that time. They displayed so much skill and talent. Everybody else probably saw a normal fight where they weren’t doing that much, but I saw skill, talent, the timing, the setups. Everything was at such a high level. It just made me say, ‘You know what, I can still do that, so I’m going to go out there and give it a shot.’”

Johnson’s last bout occurred back in April 2017. He was submitted by Daniel Cormier in their rematch for the UFC light heavyweight championship. It was the second time “Rumble” fell short in his bid for UFC gold.

Have we seen the last of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson inside the Octagon?