‘Rumble’ meets UFC vet David Branch in May
Johnson, who signed with Titan Fighting Championships earlier this month, will face fellow UFC veteran David Branch at Titan 22 on May 25. The news was first reported by Ron Kruck of HDNet, which will broadcast the main card from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan.
Johnson (10-4) spent the bulk of his UFC career at welterweight, going 7-3 in the weight class – but had well-publicized struggles to make the 171-pound limit. Twice, Johnson failed to make weight, coming in at 176 pounds for a fight against Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 104 and 177.5 pounds for a fight against Rich Clementi at UFC 76, his second bout with the promotion.
Johnson elected to move up to middleweight and was booked for a fight against home country favorite Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 in January in Brazil. But even needing to cut 15 fewer pounds than when he fought at welterweight, Johnson came in at 197 pounds, 11 pounds north of the 186-pound maximum for the fight. Belfort agreed to take the fight, getting 20 percent of Johnson's purse, with the stipulation that he weigh in again the day of the fight to keep his weight advantage at a minimum. Belfort won with a first-round rear naked choke, and Johnson was cut soon after by UFC president Dana White.
Johnson, in a statement for Titan earlier this month, said his opponent didn't matter.
"I am so pumped to be fighting again, and I'm ready to take on whatever 185-pounder they put in front of me," Johnson said in a release from Titan after announcing his signing on "The MMA Hour." "I received offers from all over the world, and after a lot of consideration, my manager Glenn Robinson and I settled on Titan because it's a good promotion, but more importantly it's run by really good people."
Branch (10-2) was released by the UFC just over a year ago following a heel hook submission loss to Rousimar Palhares at UFC on Versus 3. That setback snapped a two-fight UFC winning streak that saw him outpoint Tomasz Drwal and Rich Attonito in 2010. After the pink slip from the UFC, Branch picked up a pair of wins on the regional circuit against Jeremy May and Dominique Steele. He also has a 2-0 record for Bellator with a pair of submission victories.