A much larger Anthony Johnson. Photo via Glenn Robinson.
Anthony Johnson has two options. Behind door number one is a career at welterweight (170-pounds) where he is a top contender but essentially has to starve himself to make weight. It's been documented in the past that he's lost up to 60-pounds in one camp just to get ready for a fight.
Behind door number two is a fresh start at a new career at middleweight (185-pounds), a full 15 pounds higher where he isn't quite as well established but is considered good enough to earn a fight against a top contender his first time out. Oh, and he doesn't have to cut nearly as much weight, which means he can eat more.
Talk about Sophie's choice, right?
UFC President Dana White and UFC Matchmaker Joe Silva had been trying for some time to get Johnson to move up in weight after a couple of failed attempts at making the 170-pound limit sprinkled throughout his Octagon fight career. All to no avail.
"This is going to be a lot of fun for me," Johnson said at a recent conference call. "So that's why I feel so good because I don't have to cut the weight that I used to cut and I'm more explosive; I'm more athletic. Everything has just come to where it needs to be right now. I'm peaking at the right time."
What would a win over Belfort do for Johnson's standing at 185-pounds? Wonders, no doubt, but we're talking about a division that isn't exactly overrun with challengers to Anderson Silva's throne.
Not credible ones, at least.
That's a role "Rumble" could easily assume in just a few fights, starting with an impressive win over "The Phenom," who, himself, just fought for the title in Feb. of last year.
That's likely a big reason Johnson is planning on sticking around in his new division. Well, that and one other thing:
"Right now, middleweight is where I am. That's all I'm thinking about, and I really don't mind fighting middleweight because I get to eat more now. So like I said, I feel 1000 times better than I did when I fought (at) 170, so that's why I'm so happy and want to fight really bad."
Laugh and grow fat, Maniacs. That's what Johnson's doing ... for now.