Anthony Johnson mercilessly stormed through the light-heavyweight rankings after merging back with the UFC last year. The 205 lb. title challenger was axed from MMA's head promotion after weight cutting complications in 2013. The former welterweight contender bulked up enormously during his stints with Titan Fighting Championships and World Series of Fighting, before returning to the UFC's mainstage last April.
Leading up to his skirmish with The Mauler, Rumble made mincemeat of aspiring contenders Phil Davis and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira; beating Mr Wonderful from pillar to post and demolishing Lil Nog in the first round of their violent encounter at UFC on FOX 12.
Anthony Johnson deflected any doubts or criticisms of past performances in the 170 lb. fold after his methodical 1st round destruction of the 28-year-old Swede, Alexander Gustafsson, in January.
The colossal LHW contender established Octagon control early, marching forward and pressuring Gustafsson with seemingly no regard for his power. The Swede tried to use his light footwork to circle from Rumble's devastating strikes before he was clobbered with a thunderous overhand right which spelled the beginning of the end. Sensing the kill, a relentless Anthony Johnson attacked Gustafsson with a barrage of overhand's, uppercuts, and head kicks, before prompting referee Marc Goddard to intervene as Rumble blasted the former title challenger with a ground-and-pound onslaught.
The commanding first round stoppage of Gustafsson earned Johnson's claim to light-heavyweight gold against divisional kingpin Jon Jones. Since Jones' departure from UFC 187 due to a hit-and-run incident, the former welterweight contender will now tangle with proud Olympian and former Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier instead. UFC 187 takes place on May 23 in Las Vegas.