For many in the fight game, career success is built on a constant drive to move forward. Don’t look back, don’t regret the past, don’t dwell on what you can’t change; move ahead and focus on what’s next. Of course, every now and then that ethos is at direct odds with what is necessary. You can’t fix mistakes if you’re not willing to take stock of exactly what those mistakes were.
That’s where Anthony Johnson found himself after UFC 187 back in 2015. Johnson had been on a 3-year, 9-fight unbeaten streak heading into his first bout with Daniel Cormier at UFC 187. After dropping Cormier in the opening minute of Round 1, Johnson went on to lose by submission.
And while he fought and won only 3-months later, it seems that that loss took a bit longer to shake off. Johnson talked about his first bout with Cormier on a recent episode of the MMA Hour, as he gears up for his rematch with the light heavyweight champ at UFC 210 (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“One day I was just laying in bed,” Johnson said. “I didn’t perform to the best of my ability, and I think it was probably six months after that I finally watched the fight. I just woke up at like two in the morning and decided to watch the fight. I woke up and it was on my mind and I just watched it to see what my mistakes were, and I was like okay, they were bad mistakes but they weren’t mistakes that were so bad they couldn’t be fixed.
“Nobody wants to watch themselves lose,” Johnson added. “It was a weird feeling in my stomach, because like I said, I didn’t perform at the best of my abilities. I think that’s what disgusted me the most. It made me disgusted. So the next time, it’ll be a different story on my end.”
Johnson also spoke about his recent change in training camps, with the dissolve of the Blackzilians gym down in South Florida. He still trains with Rashad Evans over at Henri Hooft’s new Combat Club striking gym, but splits time between that camp and Combat Systems MMA. Although, despite the changes, Johnson admits that he’s “still a Blackzilian at heart.”
“I helped start the team. We’ve been through a lot of things, the Blackzilians, so overall I still love the Blackzilians. It’s just, it doesn’t last forever. And nothing lasts forever, but the little bit of time that we had together, I definitely am grateful that I was a part of that crew.”
UFC 210 goes down on April 8th in Buffalo, New York. The card is expected to be headlined by the light heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson. Chris Weidman vs. Gegard Mousasi is likely slotted for the co-main event.