After dismantling the heavy favorite Phil Davis at UFC 172, Anthony Johnson has been catapulted in to the top ten of the official UFC contender rankings all the way to the No. 5 spot.
In his first promotional appearance in over two years, “Rumble” Johnson essentially bullied the No. 4 ranked contender Davis around the octagon for three full rounds. The former welterweight stuffed every single takedown attempt from the former national champion out of Penn State and tagged him with hard shots on the feet from bell to bell.
For those who didn’t follow Anthony Johnson’s transition to 205 pounds outside of the UFC, seeing him on Saturday must have been a shock. It is hard to imagine how “Rumble”, who is massive even for light heavyweight, ever made it down to 170 pounds, especially after seeing him out muscle the powerful wrestler Davis.
His dominating performance must’ve impressed someone in the UFC brass, because the victory jumped Johnson up nine spots in the promotions official rankings from No. 14 all the way to No. 5. The UFC rankings don’t always mirror the MMA pundits’ view, but so far major outlets agree with Johnson’s placement at 205, with Fight Matrix and Sherdog ranking “Rumble” at No. 5 as well.
Post-fight Johnson seemed content with taking his time, seeing as it was his comeback fight, but after shutting down a top contender in such dominant fashion in a high profile event, it’s hard to say that he isn’t an immediate player at 205 pounds.
With champion Jon Jones making it clear that he has no intention of moving up to heavyweight in the near future, the Jones-Alexander Gustafsson rivalry boiling over and the entry of former heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier, Johnson has thrown his hat into the ring at just the right time.
What seemed like a stagnant light heavyweight division not more than a year ago is now looking like a crop of A-list contenders more than capable of testing the pound-for-pound king Jon “Bones” Jones. And after showing a vastly improved gas tank and unreal takedown defense, Anthony Johnson is at the top of the list. “Rumble” is finally firing on all cylinders inside the octagon, and the Blackzillian Team export is looking to make a serious run at UFC gold.