One UFC star is coming out of retirement.
That Superstar is UFC light heavyweight title contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. It appeared that Johnson was looking forward to being himself and not just known as a UFC star. However, things have apparently changed for the hard-hitting challenger.
Following his loss to Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 210, Johnson dropped a bit of a bombshell and announced his retirement. It was his second title loss to Cormier, who also beat “Rumble” in 2015, and it ended Johnson’s three-fight winning streak.
Johnson’s time in retirement might be short due to the fact that his manager Ali Abdel-Aziz told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that “Rumble” is planning a possible comeback.
He also revealed that he is set to meet with UFC president Dana White this week to discuss it. “It has to make sense for him,” Abdel-Aziz said.
Johnson is considering making a return to the MMA promotion as a heavyweight after spending the last three years competing at 205 pounds.
“He’ll come back as a heavyweight,” Abdel-Aziz said. “We want him to come back as a heavyweight.”
If you recall, Johnson said in May that he was going to be venturing into the marijuana business, which would take him away from focusing on MMA full-time. He has cited concussions and the brain disease CTE as reasons why he doesn’t want to fight long term.
Johnson can’t just jump back into a fight. He would have to be in the USADA drug testing pool for six months before returning to competition. This would result in his next possible fight not happening until the second quarter of 2018 at the earliest.
At that time, during his first run with the UFC, he attempted to cut to welterweight. Following his release from the UFC, he wisely chose to fight at 205 pounds, rather than welterweight or middleweight. This decision paid off big for him as it resurrected his career in World Series of Fighting.
With all of that being said, Johnson is indeed making yet another weight class change. It should be noted that he’s only competed once at heavyweight when he picked up a unanimous decision win over Andrei Arlovski at WSOF 2 in March 2013.
“We’re meeting with UFC this week to see what he wants to do,” Abdel-Aziz said. “Dana White really loves Anthony Johnson. How can you not love Anthony Johnson? He’s terrifying.”