Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight title contender Anthony Johnson, who at one point was ranked as high as No. 1 behind then-champion Daniel Cormier, is making his return to mixed martial arts (MMA) after spending three years on the bench.
And while Johnson previously frowned upon late-career comebacks from aging veterans who didn’t realize it was time to call it quits, “Rumble” insists he’s injury free and ready to make some noise in the 205-pound weight class.
Which sadly, just said goodbye to Jon Jones.
“Honestly, I missed the sport,” Johnson said on Tuesday (via MMA Fighting). “So I know at one point I was against guys coming back from retirement. You usually see them getting mopped up. BJ Penn came back, got mopped. I’ve seen everybody that came out of retirement get mopped up. I still feel good. I have no injuries. While I was in the UFC, I didn’t get hit much unless I lost and that wasn’t often.”
Johnson retired after losing to Cormier in the UFC 210 main event back in early 2017. The decision came as a bit of a surprise considering “Rumble” was 12-2 with nine knockouts after getting kicked out of UFC in early 2012.
As for the aforementioned Penn, he was forced to retire after losing seven straight fights, a far cry from his days as lightweight champion but a prime example of what can happen to athletes who let the sport pass them by.
Whether or not that happens to Johnson remains to be seen.