When we talk about knockout artists, and fighters who possess scary knockout power, Anthony Johnson’s name easily makes the cut. Johnson faced Daniel Cormier at UFC 187 for the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight title, and although Anthony started off impressively, knocking Cormier down in the very first round, Cormier came back to dominate the next two rounds. With his Olympic level wrestling skills, Cormier managed to keep Anthony on the ground, and finally won the fight via submission.
Anthony Johnson is now prepared to put in some hard work to climb back to the top, and the first hurdle in his path is Jimi Manuwa at UFC 191 this coming weekend. While Johnson is focused on facing the winner of UFC 192 fight between Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson, he isn’t looking past Manuwa, and is well aware of Manuwa’s impressive ground game, and the fact that Manuwa might prove to be a handful.
Before his next fight, I caught up with “Rumble” to talk about UFC 191, his team (The Blackzilians) and his thoughts on coming to India in the near future.
Rumble talks about the Blackzilians, and his opponent for UFC 191
Talking about Neil Melanson and his influence on Anthony since he joined the Blackzilians, Anthony said,
“I’ve worked with Neil almost every day since he’s been here for the last 6 weeks. We mesh really well; Neil makes me want to just improve, you know what I mean? He has that big influence on me, just like Henri Hooft has. I love it, I love it, man. I just want to keep improving more and more.”
Talking about Manuwa’s solid ground game, and if he would be comfortable going to the ground with a purple belt in BJJ, Anthony added, “Very comfortable. I’m not afraid of going to the ground; just because my losses have been on the ground doesn’t mean I’m afraid of going to the ground. I can still do my thing on the ground. Just believe me; if we go to the ground, I’m still going to hurt you.”
Anthony also expressed his desire to get back into the title contention with a dominant victory over Manuwa at UFC 191. “That’s on me. I hope I do”, he added.
The quality of the Light Heavyweight division
We also discussed about the quality and the depth of the division, and how Jon Jones’ suspension has kicked the door wide open for the fighters.
“I mean, it’s not the quality of 155 and under, or even 170 or whatever you want to say, but we still have guys who can go out there and do their thing, you know? Glover, myself, Daniel, Gustafsson, Bader, Rashad is still in the picture. We have 4, 5, 6 guys that are dangerous, you know? So for me, yeah, it’s open, but it’s tough. It’s not like it’s just a walk in the park with whoever we fight.”
Johnson talks about coming to India, and sends a message to his fans
“Hopefully I can make you guys even more excited to watch me fight, and thank you for the support. I had no idea I have fans in India, but now that I know that, thank you. It’s an honor to perform for you guys.
I’d do that (laughs). I’ve never been to India before, but I’d definitely want to do that. Believe it or not, I actually love doing things with people and having fun with them, with my job, so it’s fun. It’s my outlet. If I can teach somebody something, even if it’s the one thing that I do, then I’m happy with that. So if I can come down to India and teach the people in India the moves and help them in getting better in their game, I’m all for it.”
UFC 191 comes to us live from Las Vegas, Nevada, and you can catch all the action on 6th September at 7:30 AM, live on Sony SIX and Sony KIX. The card will feature the title fight between Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson, and will be co – main evented by the heavyweight bout between Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir.