Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson: I Had to Make Phil Davis Respect Me at UFC 172

By Mike Whitman Apr 27, 2014
Anthony Johnson has found new life at 205 pounds. | Dave Mandel/

If Anthony Johnson felt any butterflies in his Octagon return, he certainly did not let on.

Johnson consistently beat Phil Davis to the punch in the co-main event of UFC 172, taking a clear-cut unanimous decision from “Mr. Wonderful” at Baltimore Arena live on pay-per-view.

“I had nothing but respect for him, but I also knew I had to take my respect,” Johnson said at the post-fight press conference. “I had to make him respect me. That’s why I was swinging for the fences and trying to hurt him. I wasn’t trying to play patty-cake or have him [lie] on top of me all sweaty.”

Johnson’s takedown defense was superb, as he shucked off the former NCAA Division I champion in each of his attempts to take the fight to the floor.

“I’ve always believed in my wrestling,” said Johnson. “You’ve just never gotten to see it because I was knocking people out. I knew my wrestling was pretty good. Everybody just underestimated it.”

Johnson initially competed for the UFC from 2007 to 2012 as a welterweight, but he had repeated troubles making the 170-pound limit. After receiving his release from the promotion, Johnson reinvented himself at 205 pounds, posting six straight victories and even notching a heavyweight win over former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski.

However, Johnson said he has no plans to move up again, considering the formidable size and depth of the UFC’s current heavyweight roster.

“[Compared to] guys like Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum, Travis Browne and Junior dos Santos, I’m a little guy,” said Johnson. “I’m going to stay with the medium-sized guys at 205 [pounds]. Those heavyweights are just too big for me.”

Prior to his defeat to Johnson, Davis was ranked fourth in the world by, meaning that “Rumble” will almost certainly earn a spot in the light heavyweight top 10 for his efforts. However, despite the magnitude of his victory, Johnson has no plans to rush into a potential title opportunity.

“I’m just taking it one fight at a time. I’m not calling anybody out,” said Johnson. “I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do, which is have exciting fights. Sooner or later, I’ll get that phone call, as long as I keep winning.”


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