Anthony Johnson says he is a changed fighter and is obsessed with beating Cormier at UFC 210.
If there’s one thing Anthony Johnson has demonstrated throughout his career, it’s his ability to adapt as a fighter.
‘Rumble’ started out in the UFC as a welterweight, knocking out the likes of Kevin Burns and Yoshiyuki Yoshida before losing to UFC vet Josh Koscheck. After missing weight several times, Johnson was eventually released from the promotion and was forced to reassess his priorities as an athlete.
Determined to make amends, Johnson re-established himself as a light heavyweight, winning five straight fights before he was resigned to the UFC to take on current Bellator LHW champion Phil Davis.
The 33-year-old battered Davis from pillar-to-post, earning a clear-cut unanimous decision in what could be Johnson’s finest performance to date. After back-to-back KO’s against ‘Lil Nog’ and Alexander Gustafsson, Johnson was then selected to take on Daniel Cormier for the vacant light heavyweight title.
The Floridan started off strong, dropping Cormier multiple times and establishing himself as the superior striker. Johnson soon began to fade, however, and wrestling powerhouse Cormier snagged a rear-naked choke in the third round to take home the title.
While Johnson has rebounded with three straight knockouts and cemented himself as one of the heaviest hitting fighters in the sport, question marks still loom over his endurance.
The former 170-pound fighter assured ‘DC’ that he’s not the same fighter he used to be and said he is obsessed with proving everyone wrong at UFC 210.
“I’m definitely not the same fighter I was two years ago,” Johnson said on Thursday’s media conference call, per Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting. “Every day, every week, every month, every year I’m getting better and better, so you’ll see a different guy out there the next time you see me fight. “[The loss] definitely lit a fire under my ass to train harder and know what I needed to do to beat this guy.”
“Getting the belt would definitely put everything in place for me,” Johnson continued. “And mentally, it’s like an obsession.”
Johnson will take on Cormier in a light heavyweight championship rematch at UFC 210, which takes place next week, April 8, at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.