In the co-main event of last night's (Sat., April 26, 2014) UFC 172: "Jones vs. Teixeira" pay-per-view (PPV) at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, Anthony Johnson put a beating on Phil Davis. He didn't score a finish but it was a good old fashioned passionate ass whooping (watch the highlights here).
It was so thorough, in fact, that the commentary team of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan were in a rush to call "Rumble" the next hot contender in the light heavyweight division. The fight, mind you, wasn't even over when they were saying this.
Let's get UFC President Dana White's opinion (via Fox Sports):
"He looked good tonight. Even when the fight started and he was dominating the way he was, I was expecting him to gas out. I thought he would gas out midway through the second round and if not, the third round. Not only did he not gas out, he took his time, picked his punches, stuffed every takedown; he really looked good tonight."
That's not giving us much as far as Johnson's status as a contender. When asked about the idea of pitting "Rumble" opposite the winner of Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson, penciled in for UFC 173 on May 24 in Las Vegas, he had this to say:
"If (Daniel) Cormier wins, he likes to fight a lot, he likes to stay busy, so anything's possible."
Now let's hear from Johnson himself (via the post-fight press conference):
"I'm just taking one fight at a time. I'm not calling anybody out, I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do and fighting and having exciting fights. Sooner or later I'll get that phone call as long as I keep winning. ... I have a ton of respect for (Jon Jones). He is the champ, but I also know that I have to put in the work to be a real contender. Just because I have this win tonight doesn't make me, in my opinion, a contender. So I am just taking it one fight at a time."
There you have it.
Johnson has one win at 205-pounds in the UFC now, so it seems crazy on the surface to consider him a top contender to pound-for-pound great Jon Jones. With that said, he just defeated the number four light heavyweight (based on the most recent UFC rankings), Glover Teixeira just lost in his title shot, Alexander Gustafsson has already been declared next in line, and the number five and six fighters, the aforementioned Cormier and Henderson, will duke it out next month.
Perhaps Johnson fighting the winner of that bout for the right to fight the winner of Jones vs. Gustafsson isn't so crazy after all.