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Last year, Anthony Johnson revealed that he was targeting a UFC comeback at heavyweight sometime in the first quarter of 2020.
“Rumble” credited the rematch between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 for providing him with the motivation he needed to return to the Octagon.
“Some people will say it’s for money…I’m back because I want to be back,” Johnson said last October. “‘DC’ and Stipe actually got me motivated to come back. I give them credit for making me want to fight again.”
Talk of a return has quieted since then, a fact that UFC president Dana White acknowledged during a post-fight press conference on Saturday night.
“There was talk about it for a minute and then it all stopped and he sort of disappeared again,” White said.
According to White, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If Johnson’s heart isn’t in it, there’s no reason he should pursue a comeback.
“It is good. Because if you don’t want to fight and if you walked away the first time, what are you coming back for?” White said. “If it’s just a payday, he’s a smart kid. He can go do a lot of other things. This is a young man’s game. These up and coming kids are savages. Look at this [Josh] Emmett-[Shane] Burgos fight. Both of those guys are looking for the credit and respect they feel they deserve. Those are the type of dudes you’re gonna fight. This is a young man’s game. There’s nothing wrong with being retired.
“This isn’t a job. This is an opportunity,” he added. “You have a very short window of time to do this, like any other professional sport. There’s nothing wrong with a person who’s ready to e retired.”
Johnson initially retired from the sport following a second-round submission loss to Cormier in a light heavyweight championship bout at UFC 210 in April 2017.