For awhile it was looking like Anthony Johnson was on the other side of his career’s high point, looking solid in a series of UFC fights as a welterweight before coming in heavy a number of times and being cut by the promotion as a result. Johnson has since reinvented himself as a light heavyweight, a division far better suited for his build than 170 pounds, and scored a trio of consecutive TKOs (on top of another win before making the move).
In retrospect Johnson couldn’t be more pleased with how things have turned out and has no regrets about the self-induced adversity he experienced earlier this year.
“Everything happens for a reason. I don’t take back anything that happened in my past, because if it hadn’t happened back then, I wouldn’t be who I am right now. Moving to 205 was definitely the best decision that I’ve ever made in my life,” admitted Johnson in an interview with Sherdog.
Johnson’s latest victory came over the weekend when he sent opponent D.J. Linderman face-first into the canvas in co-headlining action at WSOF 1. The finish came seconds after “Rumble” complained of an eye-poke, landing a perfectly placed shot on Linderman’s jaw has he rushed in to attack.
Though Johnson suffered a 2008 loss in the UFC to Kevin Burns after taking a few fingers to his eye, he kept his composure this time around and had no issue with the referee’s decision to allow action to continue.
“I looked over at Herb Dean, and Herb said he didn’t see it. I respect him. He’s the best ref in the world. If he didn’t see it, then I respect that, because they don’t see everything,” explained Johnson, continuing to walk fans through the sequence. “I heard D.J.’s corner say, ‘Go get him,’ because they thought it was an opportunity. He just left himself open. I trained to step backward and punch at the same time, kind of like how Chuck Liddell used to do.”
“We train that day in and day out. Usually when you knock somebody out, you don’t feel it. You just happen to hit them in the right spot, and that’s exactly what happened,” he concluded, confessing, “I didn’t think he was going to fall the way he did. I don’t think he’s ever been knocked out or stopped like that. I think I was the first, so I’m proud of myself.”
No word has surfaced on what’s next for Johnson but, with a second WSOF event in January on the horizon and a winning streak in tow fueled by hopes of a return to the Octagon, it seems clear the resurgent 28-year old will be back in action at some point soon.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC