‘Rumble’ answers questions about his sudden retirement and reveals where things went wrong against Cormier at UFC 210.
Anthony Johnson shocked the MMA world at UFC 210 by announcing his retirement in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
Rumble, who is one of the pound-for-pound heaviest hitting fighters in the sport, lost to Daniel Cormier for the second time of his career in the main event, succumbing to a rear-naked choke in the second round.
Johnson told the fans in attendance at Buffalo’s KeyBank Center that he was tired of getting roughed up at the gym every day and had decided to pursue another career.
The Floridan didn’t delve into too many details at the post-fight press conference, telling reporters that ‘it’s just business.’
“It’s just business,” Johnson said, per Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting. “I want to do something besides going to the gym everyday punching and kicking and rolling around with another dude. That sh*t gets old. I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve been in sports since I was 8, it’s just time to move on to something different. I won’t say better, but just different.
“And no, I am not about to play football for the (Los Angeles) Rams. Because everybody’s hitting me up and saying some crazy stuff about (how) I’m about to play for the Rams. Why would I go into another sport that’s the same thing as this, and you take all this impact and stuff? That’s absolutely insane.”
Fans — as well as coaches — were also shocked by Johnson’s decision to wrestle one of the best wrestlers in the sport at UFC 210. Cormier, a former Olympic wrestler, utilized a grappling-heavy gameplan in their first championship bout in 2015, submitting Johnson with the same submission at UFC 187.
The 33-year-old Johnson rebounded with three straight knockout victories, and many expected him to keep the fight standing in the rematch.
Rumble, however, decided to initiate the takedown against Cormier and told the media that things ‘fell off track’ on the night.
“I felt great,” he said. “I trained my butt off to fight Daniel. You still saw ‘Rumble’ out there trying to knock heads off and going out there and give it his all. So, I went out there and did my thing, and whatever happened was going to happen, so I wasn’t really worried about anything.
“The game plan was to win. Keep my composure, control the pace and things like that. And just in the middle of the fight, I just kind of fell off track and started playing his game, which was wrestling and things like that. I felt fine. I felt great. It wasn’t like I was tired. He beat me. I don’t take anything away from him.”
Johnson, a two-time UFC title challenger, retires from MMA as one of the most feared knockout artists in the sport with a professional record of 22-6.