Everyone knows Anthony Johnson hits hard. But Daniel Cormier says experience has taught him to wait out Rumble’s power.
It’s no secret that Anthony Johnson is one of the hardest punchers in all of MMA. And it’s certainly not a secret to Daniel Cormier. The current UFC light heavyweight champion got a first hand taste of ‘Rumble’’s power back in 2015, when they battled for the vacant light heavyweight strap. Rumble knocked ‘DC’ down in the opening minute with a punch, but went on to lose the fight by rear naked choke in the 3rd round.
And it’s that kind of experience and that kind of dynamic that Cormier is counting on when the two men meet up again in early April. Since losing that fight to Cormier, Johnson has rattled off three straight wins, all by knockout, none of them going past the opening minute of Round 2. As Cormier said in an interview for the Anik & Florian Podcast, that gives him about ‘seven minutes’ where he needs to mind his Ps & Qs (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“I have to be careful in the first seven minutes because the reality is, I’ve felt him over the course of 14 minutes now and I know the difference in his power from minute one when he dropped me, to minute 13. So I can base that on experience. I felt him at minute 13 and granted, he’s still very powerful, but it isn’t that same explosive power that’s there in minute one, two, three, four, of the very first round. So I’ve really taken into account the beginning of the fight, being very aware, being ready to go from the start, and making sure I’m implementing my game plan from the first bell all the way until I finish the fight.”
That doesn’t mean that Cormier is expecting Johnson to be the exact same fighter as their first meeting, in fact he says he’s expecting a “much better version of the Rumble I fought last time.” But, Cormier feels he’s improved on everything since their first fight as well, and will be prepared for whatever the upgraded Johnson might bring this time around.
UFC 210 takes place on April 8th in Buffalo, New York. The fight is expected to be headlined by the light heavyweight title fight between Cormier and Johnson. A bout between former middleweight champion Chris Weidman and former DREAM champion Gegard Mousasi is scheduled for the co-main event.