Anthony Johnson retired from mixed martial arts in 2017, shortly after losing his light heavyweight title bout against then champion, Daniel Cormier. “Rumble” teased a heavyweight return in 2019, which didn’t pan out, and now reports are again coming out about a possible comeback.
According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Johnson’s manager states that the return is supposedly going to be as a light heavyweight, with the former two-time title challenger reportedly re-entering the USADA training pool this week.
News of Rumble’s comeback in 2019 had him looking pretty massive, but he now looks noticeably slimmer. He’s been posting about his workouts on social media, and was also recently part of Derek Brunson’s training camp last month.
The timing for a return is interesting, as the field at 205 lbs is pretty wide-open, now that the only two champions in the past decade aren’t active anymore. Johnson lost twice to Cormier, who has since retired, and Jon Jones has also relinquished his belt and plans to move up to heavyweight — or retire if the UFC refuses to pay him.
Since moving up from middleweight in 2012, Johnson had a long string of impressive KO wins over top contenders such as Alexander Gustafsson, Ryan Bader, Glover Teixeira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and more. The knockout artist’s only two losses in that stretch both came against the future hall-of-famer in Cormier.
Johnson is now 36 though, and hasn’t fought in three years.