After a short and successful stint with the World Series of Fighting, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson will be returning to the Octagon as a light heavyweight on April 26 at UFC 172. His opponent will be the fourth-ranked Phil Davis. It will be the first time Johnson has fought in the UFC since his submission loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 on Jan. 14, 2012.
During his time outside the UFC, Johnson has become a new fighter. Switching to the more comfortable 205 pound weight class, he went 3-0 in the WSOF against lower-tier opponents. The main thing about his time in WSOF is that he established himself as a light heavyweight, though he fought once at heavyweight.
In his debut fight in WSOF, Johnson made short work of D.J. Linderman with a first-round KO. He was able to outpoint Andrei Arlovski to a unanimous decision, but almost finished the fight several times over the course of three rounds. In his third and final bout with the organization, he finished Mike Kyle by KO. Johnson also went 2-0 in Titan Fighting Championship and defeated Jake Rosholt in Xtreme Fighting League during his time outside the UFC.
Things should be different this go-around for Johnson in the UFC. Before, he had to make extreme weight cuts to compete at welterweight. Although he was able to beat top-ranked competition in that division, Johnson was never able to find his way into title contention. Now that he is a light heavyweight, Johnson can make ripples in the 205-pound division. A win against Davis can catapult him into title talks and possibly land him another fight with a top contender.