Anthony Johnson (fighter)

Anthony Kewoa Johnson[6] (born March 6, 1984) is an American mixed martial artist currently competing for Bellator MMA in the light heavyweight division. He has also competed for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He was well known for his brutal knockout power and intimidating presence inside the octagon. Before retiring, he was the No.1 ranked light heavyweight contender in official UFC rankings,[7] and was ranked #2 in the world by Sherdog and ESPN. He also had the most 'sub-minute' KO wins in UFC History with 5. He appeared in the 2011 film Warrior as a fighter named Orlando "Midnight".

Anthony Johnson
BornAnthony Kewoa Johnson
(1984-03-06) March 6, 1984 (age 37)
Dublin, Georgia, United States
Other namesRumble
NationalityAmerican
Height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[1]
Weight205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
DivisionHeavyweight (2013)
Light heavyweight (2014–2017, 2021–present)
Middleweight (2012)
Welterweight (2006–2011)
Reach78 in (198 cm)[2]
StyleBoxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling
StanceOrthodox
Fighting out ofBoca Raton, Florida, United States
TeamBlackzilians (2011–2017)[3]
Combat Club (2017–present)[4]
WrestlingNJCAA Wrestling[5]
Years active2006–2017; 2020–present
Mixed martial arts record
Total29
Wins23
By knockout17
By decision6
Losses6
By knockout1
By submission5
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Early lifeEdit

Anthony Kewoa Johnson was born in Dublin, Georgia. He was raised by his grandparents who formally adopted him at age 2.[8][9] Early in life, his heroes were his grandfather and the football player Walter Payton. He went to West Laurens High School and then attended Lassen College in Susanville, California on a wrestling scholarship,[10] and became a junior college national wrestling champion. After college he worked as a bouncer and entered mixed martial arts at age 20, after a friend suggested it due to his wrestling background.[11]

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit

He made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 10, knocking out Chad Reiner just thirteen seconds into the first round. He had taken the fight on less than a week's notice, replacing an injured Steve Bruno, who tore his rotator cuff. He was also seen in a previous video for The Ultimate Fighter trying out for season six, however for undisclosed reasons he was not on the show.

In his next bout, he was submitted by Rich Clementi. The fight saw Clementi execute a flawless game plan of taunting Johnson, only to secure back mount and choke Johnson out. He bounced back with an impressive victory over Tom Speer.[12]

Johnson's next fight, against Kevin Burns, aired live on Spike TV on July 19, 2008, ended in a very controversial TKO loss at 3:35 of the third round. Johnson had been poked several times in the eye by Burns but was never deducted a point. Eventually Johnson was again poked in the eye, resulting in a cracked retina and was unable to continue, and in a shocking turn of events, Referee Steve Mazzagatti declared Burns the winner via TKO. Johnson appealed the loss, but his appeal denied due to a 'lack of remedy'.[13][14]

Johnson fought Kevin Burns again in a rematch on The Ultimate Fighter 8 finale.[15] This time the outcome was different, with Johnson winning the match by knocking Burns out via head kick.[16] The knockout was awarded "Knockout of The Night" and a $25,000 bonus.[17]

Johnson was scheduled to fight Matt Brown at the TUF 9 Finale, but had to pull out after suffering a knee injury. Johnson instead fought Japanese Judoka Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 104. Johnson weighed in at 176 pounds, five pounds over the welterweight non-title bout limit of 171, and was forced to forfeit 20% of his fight purse. Johnson knocked out the much smaller Yoshida 41 seconds into the first round, but was not eligible for the Knockout of the Night bonus due to missing weight.[18]

Since he had taken very little damage during his fight with Yoshida, Johnson made a quick turnaround and faced Josh Koscheck on November 21, 2009, at UFC 106.[19] Both Johnson and Koscheck were awarded Fight of the Night honors for the contest, which saw Koscheck win via rear naked choke.

Johnson was expected to face John Howard on March 21, 2010, at UFC LIVE: Vera vs. Jones,[20] but had to pull out due to suffering a knee injury in training.[21]

Because of the knee injury, Johnson considered a move to the middleweight division of the UFC.[22] Johnson indicated on the June 4, 2010, episode of Inside MMA that he must typically lose 55 pounds to make 170. Despite this, Johnson said that although he may take a fight at 185, he does not plan to remain there and intends to stay at 170.

Johnson returned to the octagon in early 2011. He faced Dan Hardy on March 26, 2011, at UFC Fight Night 24.[23] Johnson used superior wrestling and controlled Hardy to a unanimous decision victory, dropping him with a left head kick in the first round.

Johnson was expected to face Nate Marquardt in what would have been his first main event on June 26, 2011, at UFC on Versus 4 but was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced by Rick Story.[24]

Johnson went on to face Charlie Brenneman at UFC on Versus 6. He won the fight via first-round KO, earning Knockout of the Night honors.[25]

For his next fight, Johnson attempted to move up to middleweight to face Vitor Belfort on January 14, 2012, at UFC 142.[26] Leading up to the UFC 142 weigh-ins, doctors advised Johnson to terminate his weight cut and rehydrate. Johnson came in at 197 lb, 11 pounds over the middleweight division limit. The fight remained scheduled under the stipulation that Johnson would not weigh over 205 lb on fight day and would forfeit 20% of his purse to Belfort. On fight day, Johnson officially weighed in at 204.2 lb, and Belfort won via first round submission.[27] Following the loss, Johnson was released from the promotion for disciplinary reasons due to missing weight yet again.[28]

Titan Fighting ChampionshipsEdit

After being released from the UFC, Johnson fought fellow UFC veteran David Branch at Titan Fighting Championships 22.[29] On the day of the weigh ins for the fight, Johnson once again missed making the 186 lb limit for the middleweight division, as he weighed in at 194.2 lb, 8.2 lb overweight. Branch was notified the morning of the weight in that Johnson was not going to make weight, so as a result he weighed in at 189 lb. The bout was then agreed upon as a catchweight bout at 195 lb. This marked the fourth time in Johnson's professional career that he had weighed in over the assigned weight limit. Johnson won the fight via unanimous decision (30–27 on all cards).

Johnson made his light heavyweight debut at Titan Fighting Championships 24 against former King of the Cage Super Heavyweight Champion Esteves Jones, Johnson won via TKO in just 51 seconds of the second round.[30]

Independent promotionsEdit

Johnson fought Jake Rosholt at Xtreme Fight Night 9.[31] Johnson won the fight by TKO due to a head kick in the second round.

World Series of FightingEdit

Johnson faced Bellator veteran D.J. Linderman at WSOF 1 on November 3, 2012.[32] He won the fight via KO in the first round.

Johnson fought at heavyweight against Andrei Arlovski on March 23, 2013, at WSOF 2,[33] and won via unanimous decision.

Johnson was scheduled to face Strikeforce vet Mike Kyle on September 14, 2013, at WSOF 5.[34] However Johnson was forced out of the bout due to an injury.[35]

Johnson vs. Mike Kyle eventually took place on January 18, 2014, at WSOF 8 in Hollywood, Florida.[36] Johnson won the fight via knockout in the first round.[37][38]

Return to UFCEdit

On February 4, 2014, it was announced that Johnson signed a four-fight deal to return to the UFC.[39]

In his return bout, instead of cutting weight and fighting at the 170 lbs welterweight division Johnson fought at 205 lbs in the light heavyweight division.[40][41] There faced top ranked light heavyweight Phil Davis in the co-main event at UFC 172.[42] Despite being a nearly 3-to-1 underdog, Johnson was successful in his return, defeating Davis via unanimous decision after dominating all three rounds of the fight.[43]

Johnson next faced Antônio Rogério Nogueira in the co-main event on July 26, 2014, at UFC on Fox 12.[44][45] He won the fight via KO at just 44 seconds into the first round.[46] The win also earned Johnson his first Performance of the Night bonus award.[47]

Suspension from UFC and returnEdit

On September 19, 2014, news surfaced about Johnson being suspected of domestic violence against the mother of his two children.[48] Soon after, Johnson claimed to be innocent.[49] Due to the suspicion, UFC released a statement that Johnson was being indefinitely suspended until the case was investigated.[50] On November 6, 2014, the UFC lifted Johnson's suspension after the civil case was dismissed, clearing him to fight.[51]

Johnson fought Alexander Gustafsson on January 24, 2015, at UFC on Fox 14 with the promise that the winner would earn a title shot against Jon Jones.[52] Johnson won the one-sided bout via TKO in the first round, becoming the first to stop Gustafsson due to strikes.[53] The win also earned Johnson his second Performance of the Night bonus award.[54]

Johnson was expected to face Jon Jones on May 23, 2015, at UFC 187.[55] However, on April 28, it was announced that Jones had been stripped of the UFC Light heavyweight title and suspended indefinitely. Johnson faced Daniel Cormier for the vacant UFC Light heavyweight Championship. In the early opening of the first round, Johnson became the first man to knock Cormier down in a MMA fight, however Johnson would go on to lose the next two rounds and eventually be submitted by a rear naked choke.[56]

Johnson was expected to face Jan Błachowicz on September 5, 2015, at UFC 191.[57] However, Johnson was pulled from the bout on July 30 in favor of a fight with Jimi Manuwa at the event.[58] After dominating the first round with his wrestling, Johnson won via knockout early in the second round.[59][60]

Johnson next faced Ryan Bader on January 30, 2016, at UFC on Fox 18.[61] Bader went for a takedown almost immediately, which Johnson defended. Bader then threatened a kimura off his back, but Johnson again defended it before moving to mount and winning via knockout.[62] The win also earned Johnson his fourth Performance of the Night bonus award.[63]

Johnson was expected to face Glover Teixeira on July 23, 2016, at UFC on Fox 20, but pulled from the card due to undisclosed reasons.[64] The bout was rescheduled and eventually took place at UFC 202.[65] Johnson defeated Teixeira by knockout 13 seconds into the first round and was awarded his fifth Performance of the Night bonus.[66][67]

A rematch with champion Daniel Cormier was expected to take place on December 10, 2016, at UFC 206.[68] However, Cormier pulled out of the fight on November 25 citing an injury and as a result, Johnson was removed from the card.[69] The pairing was rescheduled again and eventually took place on April 8, 2017, at UFC 210.[70] Johnson lost the fight via submission in the second round when he decided to wrestle Cormier throughout the match, a decision which frustrated his corner. After the fight, Johnson announced his retirement from the UFC and combat sports effective immediately.[71][72]

In 2017, Johnson switched to Combat Sports, an open gym club, and CSMMA after Blackzilians ceased operations across the Florida area.[73]

In August 2019, 2 years after initially announcing his retirement, Johnson confirmed that he would be re-entering the USADA testing pool. Despite initial claims about moving up to heavyweight, Johnson eventually decided to stay in the light heavyweight division.[74] In October 2019, Johnson confirmed he was in talks with the UFC brass to come back as part of the heavyweight division and would like to return in April 2020.[75] However, he eventually entered the testing pool in late August 2020, and would be eligible to compete in February 2021.[76]

Bellator MMAEdit

On December 9, 2020, it was announced that Johnson had mutually parted ways with the UFC and had signed a multi-fight contract with Bellator MMA.[77]

On February 9, 2021, it was announced that Johnson would be participating in the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Tournament. He was scheduled to face Yoel Romero in the quarterfinal round at Bellator 257 on April 16[78] but on March 26, it was announced that the bout would be moved to Bellator 258 on May 7.[79] On April 29, it was announced that Yoel had failed his pre-fight medical exam and the bout was scrapped and Romero was removed from the tournament.[80] The next day, it was announced that Jose Augusto would replace Yoel in the bout and the Grand Prix.[81]After surviving being dropped in the first round, Johnson won via one punch knockout in the second round.[82]

Personal lifeEdit

After martial arts competition, Johnson launched a CBD oil company, Competitive Body Development. In early 2019, Johnson was appointed as the head of fighter relations for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.[83]

Domestic violence allegationsEdit

In 2009, Johnson was charged with domestic battery and pleaded no contest. He was sentenced to serve three years of probation. He was also charged with making criminal threats and property damage when he broke the victim's cell phone, but those charges were thrown out.[84]

In March 2014, one month before Johnson's return to the UFC, Johnson was accused of domestic abuse towards his ex-girlfriend and mother of his children. A police report that was revealed to the public in September 2014 included statements from Johnson's ex in which she alleged Johnson came to her work, physically approached her, grabbed her shirt behind the neck and lifted her up from the chair on which she was sitting. She continued by saying that Johnson then grabbed her right arm and forcefully pulled on it several times to pull her closer to him, and that he verbally abused her in front of several co-workers. The police report also stated that the girlfriend had visible bruising on her arm and scratches near her collarbone. Police said that Johnson's girlfriend was crying and shaking while giving her side of what happened. No charges were filed.[48][84]

Johnson was arrested on May 5, 2019 in Boca Raton, Florida after an incident with his girlfriend. Johnson's girlfriend said that during an argument, Johnson became angry, picked her up, and carried her into another room. Stating that she was fearful for her safety, Johnson's girlfriend then called 911. Police officers arrived and placed Johnson under arrest and took him to the Palm Beach County jail, where he was booked on charges of domestic battery (by law, any act of non-consensual touching could be considered battery). Johnson was released hours later on recognizance, meaning he promised to show up for future court dates.[85] On May 15, it was revealed that he pleaded not guilty.[86] The case was ultimately dismissed, with the charges against Johnson being dropped when he reached a joint agreement with the prosecutors by agreeing to attend an anger management course. In addition, he was required to attend biweekly drug testing due to testing positive for marijuana, thus neglecting his bail conditions.[87]

Championships and achievementsEdit

Amateur wrestlingEdit

Mixed martial artsEdit

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
29 matches 23 wins 6 losses
By knockout 17 1
By submission 0 5
By decision 6 0
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 23–6 José Augusto Azevedo KO (punch) Bellator 258 May 7, 2021 2 1:30 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinal.
Loss 22–6 Daniel Cormier Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 210 April 8, 2017 2 3:37 Buffalo, New York, United States For the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 22–5 Glover Teixeira KO (punch) UFC 202 August 20, 2016 1 0:13 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 21–5 Ryan Bader KO (punches) UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Bader January 30, 2016 1 1:26 Newark, New Jersey, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 20–5 Jimi Manuwa KO (punches) UFC 191 September 5, 2015 2 0:28 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Performance of the Night.
Loss 19–5 Daniel Cormier Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 187 May 23, 2015 3 2:39 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States For the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 19–4 Alexander Gustafsson TKO (punches) UFC on Fox: Gustafsson vs. Johnson January 24, 2015 1 2:15 Stockholm, Sweden Performance of the Night.
Win 18–4 Antônio Rogério Nogueira KO (punches) UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. Brown July 26, 2014 1 0:44 San Jose, California, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 17–4 Phil Davis Decision (unanimous) UFC 172 April 26, 2014 3 5:00 Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Win 16–4 Mike Kyle KO (punch) WSOF 8 January 18, 2014 1 2:03 Hollywood, Florida, United States Return to Light Heavyweight.
Win 15–4 Andrei Arlovski Decision (unanimous) WSOF 2 March 23, 2013 3 5:00 Atlantic City, New Jersey United States Heavyweight debut.
Win 14–4 D.J. Linderman KO (punch) WSOF 1 November 3, 2012 1 3:58 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 13–4 Jake Rosholt TKO (head kick) Xtreme Fight Night 9 September 21, 2012 2 4:22 Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
Win 12–4 Esteves Jones TKO (punches) Titan Fighting Championships 24 August 24, 2012 2 0:51 Kansas City, Kansas, United States Light Heavyweight debut.
Win 11–4 David Branch Decision (unanimous) Titan Fighting Championships 22 May 25, 2012 3 5:00 Kansas City, Kansas, United States Catchweight (195 lb) bout; both fighters missed weight.
Loss 10–4 Vitor Belfort Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 142 January 14, 2012 1 4:49 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Middleweight debut; Johnson missed weight (197 lbs).
Win 10–3 Charlie Brenneman TKO (head kick) UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson October 1, 2011 1 2:49 Washington, D.C., United States Knockout of the Night.
Win 9–3 Dan Hardy Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis March 26, 2011 3 5:00 Seattle, Washington, United States
Loss 8–3 Josh Koscheck Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 106 November 21, 2009 2 4:47 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night.
Win 8–2 Yoshiyuki Yoshida TKO (punches) UFC 104 October 24, 2009 1 0:41 Los Angeles, California, United States Catchweight (176 lb) bout; Johnson missed weight.
Win 7–2 Luigi Fioravanti TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Lauzon vs. Stephens February 7, 2009 1 4:39 Tampa, Florida, United States
Win 6–2 Kevin Burns KO (head kick) The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir Finale December 13, 2008 3 0:28 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Knockout of the Night.
Loss 5–2 Kevin Burns TKO (eye pokes) UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Irvin July 19, 2008 3 3:35 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Johnson appealed for the result to be overturned which was rejected by NSAC.[88]
Win 5–1 Tom Speer KO (punch) UFC Fight Night: Florian vs. Lauzon April 2, 2008 1 0:51 Broomfield, Colorado, United States
Loss 4–1 Rich Clementi Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 76 September 22, 2007 2 3:05 Anaheim, California, United States Catchweight (177 lb) bout; Johnson missed weight.
Win 4–0 Chad Reiner KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Stout vs. Fisher June 12, 2007 1 0:13 Hollywood, Florida, United States
Win 3–0 Keith Wilson Decision (majority) Rocky Mountain Nationals: Demolition September 16, 2006 2 5:00 Denver, Colorado, United States Won the RMN Welterweight Tournament.
Win 2–0 Rich Moskowitz Decision (unanimous) Rocky Mountain Nationals: Demolition September 16, 2006 2 5:00 Denver, Colorado, United States
Win 1–0 Jonathan Romero TKO (punches) PF 2: Live MMA August 16, 2006 1 1:09 Hollywood, California, United States

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit