Johnson Finds Peace at 205 Pounds
The light-heavyweight division has a new threat after this past weekend in Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.
After dispatching of Esteves Jones in impressive fashion at Titan FC 24, it's no secret that light-heavyweight is the perfect division for the founding "Blackzilians" member.
"I felt fine," Johnson recently told Heavy.com."Hell, I pretty much felt the best I've ever felt. I didn't feel fatigued, I didn't feel weak, I felt real explosive, so I have complaints. Esteves is a real good fighter and he took a good amount of punishment, but his style just didn't match up with mine. So, it wasn't a good fight for him, it was a great fight for me."
A healthy and determined Johnson is as talented as arguably any fighter in the sport today. With his combination of versatile striking and explosive wrestling it's safe to say that we're set to see the best "Rumble" has to offer.
"I keep getting better and better every fight," Johnson said. "It seems like I keep getting more and more aggressive in every fight. So, I just keep improving and it's more and more I just want to keep hurting people and beating people up."
A vital part of Johnson's improvements are due to his work with talented striking coach Henri Hooft, who's served as the longtime coach to world champion kickboxer Tyrone Spong, and Johnson's all-star lineup of "Blackzilians" teammates at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in south Florida.
"Having Henri as a standup coach, it's like you don't get any better than that," Johnson said. "Henri's a great coach and he's a great friend also, so I got the best of both worlds and when it comes down to my team. My teammates Rashad (Evans), Michael Johnson, Tyrone (Spong), Alistair (Overeem), JZ (Cavalcante), Jorge Santiago, it's great and we all push each other and help each other out.
“It just gets no better than what we have right now and people want to come from east, west, north, and south to come and join our team to come train here because they know what we have here is the best. I take great pride in having a team like this, so I'm honored to be with this team right now."
After rising from the tough times that came after being released from the UFC in January, Johnson's stood up like a professional and turned his career into a bright spot as he makes a home in his new division.
Most importantly, he's having fun again and enjoying being in gym honing his skills alongside his teammates and the aforementioned Hooft.
"Just like you said, getting back in the gym and training with my teammates and getting better and better every day," Johnson said. "It's just fun again, this year I was a little bit down on myself and almost gave up, but I didn't so getting back in the gym and the is busy again. Everybody has fights and I had teammates (Michael Johnson, Abel Trujillo) that were supposed to fight this weekend coming up, but some people decided to back out of a fight even though they're champion but I won't say any names. They're missing out on a payday and check because of one person (Jon Jones and UFC 151's event cancelation), but things happen for a reason and it gives them more time to prepare for whoever they have next."
As for his own return, it comes much sooner than most as he's slated to face Jake Rosholt at XFN 8 on Sept. 21 in Tulsa, OK. With the stars aligned in his favor, Johnson's thrilled to once again test his skills in order to reach his ultimate goal.
"I'm really excited, it keeps me busy and keeps me focused on my goal," Johnson said. "And that's getting back to the UFC and knocking heads off when I get there too, so I'm just excited as I can be right now."
With that being said, Johnson knows what it takes to reach his goal of returning to the sport's premier organization and regardless of what time of the year it is or when he reaches his goal, he's prepared to make a statement each time he steps inside the cage.
"A lot of people say 'Is this your time to make a statement in this part of the year, that part of the year?' To me, I think every part of the year is time for me to make a statement. So, every fight I feel like I need to make a statement and hell I think every time I fight it's my time to make a statement. It doesn't matter what quarter of the year it is, it's my time to make a statement no matter what."