After years of struggling to make weight, Anthony Johnson hasn’t just moved up a division -- he’s moved up two.
Now a light heavyweight, the former welterweight recently joined the Sherdog Radio Network to discuss his new division, his relationship with the UFC and more.
Johnson on when he should have moved to 205: “A long time ago actually. Now that I sit back and think about it, it should have happened a long time ago. But things don’t happen until they’re supposed to happen, so I guess right now is the right time for it to happen.”
On his struggles to make weight: “I thought I could do what I did 10 years ago, like in college and stuff like that early in my career, when I could just lose 15 pounds overnight it seemed like. I always heard my grandparents and older people say your body’s going to change, and you can’t do the things you used to do when you get older. Being young, you don’t think about it. You’re like, ‘Ah, whatever. I can do whatever I want to do.’ Now I’m like, ‘Yeah, I should have listened.’ But I don’t regret it. It was just a learning experience and I don’t have time for mistakes anymore.”
On how he’ll perform at 205: “I’m going to be a fighter that’s more focused, somebody who has 10 times less stress on his head and on his body because I don’t have to worry about how much I have to lose, how much cardio I have to do to make the weight. Now I’m just happy. I’m happy now, smiling every day in the gym.”
On what it will take to get back in the UFC: “I’ve just got to keep beating people up and get back in. That’s always how it is with the UFC. You get put out, you’ve got to work your ass off to get right back in. That’s what I plan on doing. As far as having communication with them, my manager talks to the UFC and Dana [White] and them all the time. He has to -- we’ve got Rashad [Evans] and Alistair [Overeem] on the team and a couple of other UFC fighters, but I don’t try to ask for brownie points or anything like that to get back in the UFC or any favors. I know I have to work my way back in, which I don’t mind doing. I’ll do what I have to do.”
On his plans for the light heavyweight division: “I plan on being elite level. If I can do all right with Alistair and Rashad, hell, I think I can do all right with anybody. … I’m happy. I’m not stressed like I used to be. I’m just ready to just do what I’ve got to do, just have fun and get paid.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:01:09).