Anthony Johnson has always had an interesting career, fighting as low as welterweight all the way up to heavyweight. There was previous talk about him moving back up in his return to MMA, but after signing with Bellator, “Rumble” made it clear he plans to stay at 205 lbs.
“Everybody keeps talking about heavyweight cause I brought it up but everybody also has to realize I was fat whenever I was talking about fighting at heavyweight,” Johnson told MMA Fighting.
“I was fat. So I didn’t have no dreams of weighing 230 [pounds] or less again. But you’ve got monsters at heavyweight.”
Rumble has always been a hard hitter at light heavyweight, making the prospect of a heavyweight move interesting to fans. Although according to him, training with heavyweights in the gym constantly makes him want to just compete against people his own size.
“You’ve got my guy Linton Vassell, he’s my training partner and I don’t even want to fight this guy,” Johnson said. “I hate sparring him. He’s a ball of muscle and he’s tall and lanky and just he’s tough. I don’t want to have to deal with that. I already have to deal with it with the smaller guys. Why would I want to deal with it with somebody that’s bigger than me? Linton walks around the gym with his shirt off and on his fat days, he looks better than 99 percent of the rest of the world.
“I’m like I don’t want to deal with those problems. Cause when he grabs you, you’re not getting away. I just don’t want him to touch me.”
Johnson has a point about the size difference, but heavyweight has always been a thinner division, filled with generally older and slower fighters — and it’s even more pronounced in Bellator.
He’ll surely be a lot faster than those heavyweights, and it could’ve been interesting to see if he could match their power as well. He’s also likely to meet less technical grapplers there, although as Rumble alluded to, strength could bridge that gap. It’s also worth noting that the current Bellator heavyweight champion is actually a career light heavyweight.
That being said, Rumble’s addition to 205 lbs certainly makes Bellator’s light heavyweight division even deeper, joining the likes of current champion Vadim Nemkov, and former UFC contenders like Yoel Romero, Corey Anderson, Phil Davis and others.
Rumble retired in 2017, and as he said, he looked huge in past training videos. The former UFC title challenger has slimmed down considerably and looks to be in far better shape nowadays.