Glenn Robinson has title aspirations for Anthony Johnson
Newly minted light-heavyweight Anthony Johnson returns to action Friday night in the headliner of Titan Fighting Championship 24.
After spending much of his career at welterweight, Johnson made a brief move up to middleweight, and now he's settling in at 205-pounds.
He'll make his divisional debut opposite Esteves Jones, who brings a nice record into the bout, but the move to light heavyweight should allow Johnson to reach his full potential as a professional athlete.
His longtime manager and President of Authentic Sport's Management, Glenn Robinson, who manages more than 20 world class fighters including the likes of Rashad Evans, Alistair Overeem, Jorge Santiago, and Tyrone Spong believes the same.
Robinson also feels that Johnson is a natural in any division that he so chooses to compete at.
"I think Anthony is a natural talent at any weight he fights,” Robinson recently told Heavy.com. “I just feel that at 205 with the bigger weight cuts he did earlier in his career made it difficult for him to lose the kind of weight he would need to fight at say 185 right now. So, I think 205 makes sense for him from a health standpoint but I think A.J. could be successful at any weight he fights and I expect him to be fantastic at 205.
“I do believe to answer your question that he will be stronger, because he will have less weight to lose and he won't have to deprive his body of proper nutrients and he definitely will be a stronger fighter than he's ever been. I watched him practice leading up to the fight and he looked good, just as good as ever, and his gas tank is very good because he does a lot of cardio. So, I think he's going to be the best Anthony we've ever seen in terms of a strength standpoint and I think you're going to see some good stuff from him."
As for how the level of excitement will be for Robinson when he watches Johnson fight live on AXS TV from Kansas City's Memorial Hall?
It's plain and simple; he's very much looking forward to seeing “Rumble” return to the form that saw him collect many highlight reel knockouts alongside his Blackzilians teammates.
"We have a bunch of guys fighting this weekend,” Robinson said. So, I'm excited to see all of them. But to specifically answer your question about A.J., I'm very excited. A.J.'s been with me for a long time and he's a big part of my life and my family. So, seeing him get back to where he should be is a good feeling for me and I feel like I'm watching my son do some great things with his life. I love all of the guys, but to answer your specific question, I'm very much looking forward to seeing A.J. do what he does best, knock people out."
The next step in Johnson's career is already underway and I know what you're thinking "He hasn't even weighed in and fought yet." And while that is true, the key to his success is that he's smiling and enjoying the fight game again. That's been the most enjoyable part of the process for Robinson as he's been with Johnson throughout his entire camp.
"Seeing him smile again, seeing him smile again,” said Robinson. “There was a couple of months where he wasn't in the best of spirits and now he is, he's back in good spirits and seeing him smile again for camp and seeing him come in with a smile on his face is really a great feeling. That means he's getting back to where he was mentally and physically and that to me is very motivating for me myself. It's tough to see somebody hurt and he was hurting for a while, so it's very tough to see someone you care about go through pain and knowing that he's coming out of that pain and he's starting to see some positive light and achieve his goals make you feel good inside."
Now, exactly how far can a motivated, healthy, and happy Anthony Johnson take his career? Robinson has your answer and it's a heartfelt one.
"Anthony's meant to be a world champion and he will reach it one day,” Robinson said. “I go on record here today to tell you that eventually, I can't guarantee what's going to happen Friday night, but I believe Anthony's going to be victorious and he's going to look fantastic but the truth of the matter is that when the cage door closes anything can happen and Esteves Jones is a great fighter, but I believe Anthony will be victorious.
"But I believe by the end of Anthony's career that he will hold a title if he wants to and if he wants to I will support him and help him with whatever it take to reach the objective."
In order to reach the championship aspirations Robinson speaks of, Johnson must defeat Jones on Friday night, but for the simple fact that throughout the trials and tribulations of his career that Johnson has made the necessary steps in order to reach the top means the world for Robinson as he prepares to see one of his closest friends reach his goals.
"It means a lot,” said Robinson. “Anthony's been with me for a long time so when you spend that much time with somebody, you want to see them reach their goals in life. Anthony's worked hard since he was a kid and there's a lot the world doesn't know about Anthony. He's been a hard worker since he was a child and I want to see the best for him and it means the world to me to see him succeed.
“It means more than any dollar figure you can put on it, I know in this business it's hard to believe but truth of the matter is from an Anthony Johnson standpoint is that he wins and that he gets back to where he wants to be and he's happy. So, this is going to make him happy and knowing that it's going to make him happy makes me happy."