The moment Mike Kyle landed face first on the mat, Anthony Johnson became an unrestricted free agent. Throughout his career, Johnson has been some what of a conundrum. Johnson was first exposed to a large audience as an explosive welterweight at UFC Fight Night 10 where he knocked out Chad Reiner in thirteen seconds.
Seven years, multiple botched weight cuts, and a UFC release later, Johnson is now free to sign with the promotion of his choice after a successful run at light-heavyweight. Will Johnson return to the UFC or sign elsewhere? Take a look below as we breakdown everywhere Johnson is likely to sign.
Re-Sign with World Series of Fighting
As tempting as a change of scenery could be for Johnson, the most likely scenario is that he resigns with World Series of Fighting. According to a tweet sent out by MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani, Johnson’s management is expecting that they will resign with the promotion.
The move makes sense on many levels for Johnson as he is perfectly lined up to become the promotions light-heavyweight champion. Kyle was Johnson’s biggest challenge on the roster and he put him away with ease. If he resigns with the promotion, he will likely face Kalib Starnes for the vacant title. A lot of money, easy fights, and a title is probably enough to keep Johnson around. We will see how things pan out over the next couple of weeks.
If fans were polled about where they would like to see Anthony Johnson fight, I can guarantee that at least ninety-five percent of them would want him to sign with the UFC. Jon Jones has been running through the UFC light-heavyweight division like a hot knife through butter and needs another potential challenger.
The UFC could put Anthony Johnson into fights with top contenders immediately to build his resume. Anthony Johnson versus Phil Davis? Sign me up. Anthony Johnson versus Shogun Rua? Please book that right now! Anthony Johnson would not only be an immediate contender but he would be one of the best stories in the promotion. Seeing a fighter return after a successful career at one hundred and seventy pounds to compete thirty-five pounds heavier is a sight to see. Add in Johnson’s fighting style and you have a fighter who is must watch TV.
As good as this all sounds, Dana White tends to hold grudges and Johnson’s weight issues in the past could keep him out of the promotion. Hopefully, that is not the case and the promotion shells out the big bucks for “Rumble.”
Bellator will be a distant third behind World Series of Fighting and the UFC for Johnson’s services. The way Bellator runs their business does not fit well with a guy like Johnson. I can’t see him wanting to compete in a tournament nor can I see him taking a pay cut.
Although Johnson’s signing with Bellator is unlikely, it’s definitely fun to speculate about who Johnson would fight in his Bellator tenure. Imagine the slugfest that would be Rampage Jackson versus Anthony Johnson. Think about Emmanuel Newton’s flashy striking competing with Johnson’s sheer power. Bellator provides a lot of great matchups for “Rumble” but not much else. Look for Johnson to likely sign elsewhere.
Where do you think Anthony Johnson will end up? Sound off in the comments section below or on our facebook page!
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