After Saturday night, it’s hard to deny Anthony Johnson a second chance at UFC gold.
In a battle of light heavyweight contenders, “Rumble” confirmed his reputation as arguably the scariest man in the division by knocking out Glover Teixeira with an uppercut 13 seconds into their co-headlining encounter at UFC 202.
“I told my coach this morning if I was gonna knock out Glover it was going to be by uppercut, and it worked out perfectly,” Johnson said during an interview on Fox Sports 1.
“My fighting style and his fighting style, I just knew that the speed and power would be there for me and that he would make a mistake. And he did.”
That makes three straight knockout victories for Johnson since he fell to current light heavyweight king Daniel Cormier for the vacant belt at UFC 187 last year. Even Cormier admits that the Blackzilians standout has earned a rematch.
“I thought Rumble would win; I thought he would knock him out. I didn’t think it would be that fast, but that’s what Rumble does, man. He’s a great fighter,” Cormier said. “He’s got unbelievable power, and he’s doing this over and over again. I am honored to be competing against him again. I can’t wait.”
Cormier was supposed to defend his crown against Jon Jones in the UFC 200 headliner but that bout was scrapped when Jones failed an out-of-competition drug test. Instead, “DC” outpointed Anderson Silva in a non-title bout at the July 9 event.
While both Jones and UFC President Dana White have hinted that the fighter’s anti-doping violation might not be as bad as initially feared, Cormier was adamant on social media that Johnson would be his next foe, even if Jones ends up with a reduced suspension:
Won't fight jones next. I am fighting rumble. He's here. He's deserving Won't fight jones. https://t.co/YYpkLdmd8i— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 21, 2016
Or he won't show up. Something will happen. Been booked 4 times fought once. I need a break https://t.co/XRHkJOsyIG— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 21, 2016
For his part, Johnson expects to be a much improved version of the fighter who faded against Cormier in their initial encounter.
“I will do everything different. You know how he [Cormier] said to Jon Jones, ‘I will die fighting you’ or whatever he said? That’s me right now. I want that gold. I want that strap. I’m coming to get it.
“I train my butt off. And people don’t believe that. But you got elite athletes such as Daniel pushing you to a point where you can barely stand up and barely breathe, that’s just how it goes sometimes,” he added. “But it was his night the last time; it’s gonna be my night the next time.”