Anthony Johnson has flip-flopped on his decision to retire from MMA and says he is willing to fight pound-for-pound great Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title - under one condition: ‘the price has got to be right’.
‘Johnson’, who announced his retirement after losing to Daniel Cormier for the second time in a light heavyweight championship tilt at UFC 210, told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that he would only come back to fight the ‘legend’ Jones.
“I’m kind of on the fence,” Johnson said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour (h/t Peter Carroll of MMA Fighting).
“It would have to be worth it for me financially because I have so much going on already. If I did come back, it would just be to fight the legend Jon Jones.”
Johnson, 33, was one of the most feared knockout artists in the sport and believes he would pose all kinds of problems for ‘Bones’.
“I’ve beaten pretty much everyone else except for Daniel (Cormier) and Jon. Jon got hit with some big punches from Daniel. I know if I had hit him with some of those punches he most likely would have went down.
“Jon is a hell of a fighter. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Johnson says a fight with Jones would generate massive interest and ‘pull in crazy numbers’, which is why he’s considering a return to the sport. The two-time title challenger retired from MMA to launch a medical marijuana facility in his hometown of Florida.
“At the end of the day, it’s business, and if UFC come to me with something I can’t resist, then I’ll make it happen. The price has got to be right.
“The fans loved see me and DC fighting because it was a rematch, but a fight with me and DC could never amount to what me and Jon could bring in. Jon and DC had that hype, Jon and I have our hype.
“People weren’t that tuned in to me and DC fighting. People were tuned in to Jon and DC fighting, but everyone knows that people would tune in to see me and Jon fighting.
“Just be real with me and give me what I’m worth. I know that we are going to pull in crazy numbers if we do this, so pay us what we’re worth.”
Although Johnson is considering a comeback for the right price, the Georgia-born talent was very serious about his retirement. Johnson terminated his contract with the UFC three days after announcing his retirement.
“I’m out,” he said. “UFC sent me my termination papers. They terminated my contract, I think, three days later. They respected my wishes and I respect them for that.
“I know that sometimes people would have their contracts held on to until it runs out, but they let me go right away. I filled out the form for USADA and said I was retired, so everything was good.
“If I decide to fight again we’ll have to do all of this stuff again. I’ll have to wait another six months before I can fight.”
While Johnson considers a return against Jones, the current light heavyweight champion is gearing up for a heavyweight super fight against WWE and UFC mega star Brock Lesnar. Jones called out Lesnar after his TKO win over Cormier at UFC 214, but the heavyweight powerhouse told him to be ‘careful’ what he wishes for.