Anthony Johnson avoided mixed martial arts entirely for about two years until the heavyweight championship rematch between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier caught his eye.
The former two-time light heavyweight title challenger is planning a return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he will compete in the heavyweight division. During a Dominance MMA Media press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, “Rumble” confirmed that he is targeting April for his first fight in more than two years.
“Some people will say it’s for money…I’m back because I want to be back,” Johnson said (video via MMAFighting.com). “‘DC’ and Stipe actually got me motivated to come back. I give them the credit for making me want to fight again.”
Miocic regained the heavyweight crown with a fourth-round technical knockout of Cormier at UFC 241 in Anaheim, Calif., on Aug. 17. A trilogy bout between the two rivals is reportedly in the works once Miocic recovers from an eye injury.
“Their last fight was such a good fight, it made me get the itch again to go out there and beat some people up,” Johnson said.
Johnson announced his retirement following a loss to Cormier at UFC 210 in April 2017. For a long time after that, he didn’t look back.
“For two years, I didn’t do anything. I didn’t want to have anything to do with mixed martial arts at all,” Johnson said. “I was honestly just burned out, just was done with it. I think I maybe watched three fights. I don’t know any of the new fighters. I’m the old man of the group now.”
At the moment, Johnson doesn’t have any opponents in mind, but he does expect that his comeback will be more than a one-off type of deal.
“I’m trying to make everybody a victim of what I can do,” he said.
“I’m pretty sure it [MMA] still sucks, but I plan on hanging around for a little bit.”