This coming April will mark three years since we last saw light heavyweight wrecking machine, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson step foot in the Octagon. The 36-year-old has flirted with a return to mixed-martial-arts ever since his rematch defeat to Daniel Cormier back at UFC 210, and it seems this year will mark the highly-anticipated second stint of the Georgia native. Yet to reenter the USADA testing-pool, Johnson has also yet to decide whether he’ll return to 205-pounds, or test more comfortable waters a division higher at heavyweight.
Speaking with Colin Crandall from the MMA Power Hour on FITE TV recently – Johnson detailed his return blueprint for the coming calendar year, and also revealed how he wasn’t keen on receiving preferential treatment like former UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar before him. When posed the question of how long he’d stick around before he was granted a title opportunity, Johnson explained how he wouldn’t rush things.
“I don’t know,” Johnson explained. “Two, three [fights], it doesn’t matter to me. If they (the UFC) decide to do it how they usually do it – start from the bottom and work your way up, I’m willing to do that. There’s so many guys out there – I don’t want to be like, you know how they did Brock Lesnar? Brock Lesnar came in, had a loss, and then had a win, and then they give him a title shot or whatever it was. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to have favouritism like that. They want me to fight, the fans deserve a fight, and my competitors deserve a fight. All of us work our ass off to get where we are right now. I’m not tryna jump the line, but if I knock #6 out in the world, guess where I plan on being at, #6 at the end of the day. To me, that’s just how it works.“
Johnson – who somehow competed as low at welterweight during his storied career, has managed sixteen finishes all through knockout. The two-time title challenger has bested the likes of Andrei Arlovski, Alexander Gustafsson, Ryan Bader, Jimi Manuwa, Phil Daivs, Antonio Rodgério Nogueira, Dan Hardy, David Branch, and Glover Teixeira since his professional bow back in 2006.