Time to put up or shut up.
UFC welterweight prospects Anthony Johnson (8-3) and John Howard (13-4) have agreed to settle their longstanding feud at the upcoming UFC Fight Night 21 event scheduled for March 21 in Denver, Colorado.
MMAmania.com confirmed with Johnson's camp earlier today that both parties have verbally agreed to the contest.
They were originally set to do battle at last June's Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale; however, Howard withdrew from the bout under his manager's direction, prompting a slew of unflattering remarks from Johnson.
"I don’t appreciate him calling me a coward or anything like that. He has to understand that the decisions that are made for me are smart decisions. My job is to fight. I don’t make decisions about who to fight or when I’m going to fight, and I don’t pull out of fights ... Anthony Johnson has been in the UFC a little longer than me, and it’s not because I’m a coward (that the fight was nixed); it just wasn’t time…. I want to fight him, and the first chance I get the OK to fight him, I will. And he’s going to eat his words, definitely. It’s personal. He’s going to regret ever questioning me."
Howard was instead paired up with Tamdan McCrory at UFC 101 in Philadelphia back on August 8, squeaking past "The Barn Cat" via split decision.
The win was good enough to earn him a crack at Dennis Hallman at UFC 106 on Nov. 21. Dooms came from behind to stop "Superman" with just seconds remaining in their clash.
Now it appears that Howard is ready to test himself against Johnson -- who may be looking to punish someone after his last Octagon appearance.
"Rumble" was choked out by Josh Koscheck -- also at UFC 106 -- to snap a three fight winning streak. Unfortunately the contest was not without controversy.
The fight was littered with bizarre stoppages and frequent mishaps including eye pokes from both sides and a controversial knee while "Kos" was grounded. Johnson contends his errant knee never made head contact and that his loss can be attributed to the aforementioned eye mashing.
Whatever the case, he is on a mission to get back into the 170-pound title hunt and John Howard stands in his way.
UFC Fight Night 21 is expected to be headlined by light heavyweights Brandon Vera and Jon Jones -- though no official announcement regarding the card has been made from the UFC.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more updates on the March 21 event as they develop.