Anthony Johnson came up short in his awaited light heavyweight title rematch with Daniel Cormier in the main event of tonight’s (April 8, 2017) UFC 210 from the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York, but no one was expecting what came right afterwards.
Following the second-round submission which came by rear-naked choke just like “DC’s” first win over “Rumble” at 2015’s UFC 187, Johnson shockingly revealed he was retiring from the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) after nearly 11 years in the fight game.
The announcement from an emotional “Rumble” comes as an outright shock considering Johnson had won three straight fights over Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader, and Jimi Manuwa by demolishing knockout after his first loss to “DC,” looking like a re-motivated fighter on his way back to the title shot. But Johnson revealed he had simply tired of the grind fighting was, and had a job outside of the cage that he’d been aiming to do for quite some time:
“I gave my commitment to another job,” Johnson said. “Something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. It’s not MMA related or anything like that. It’s just time for me to move on to something else. I’m tired of getting punched by guys and rolling around on the ground with guys.”
No word has been revealed as to just what that opportunity is.
If he is indeed done fighting, Johnson will almost definitely go down as one of the most feared power punchers in the history of MMA, with his long run a unique one where he used to cut upwards of 60 pounds to make welterweight, a process that eventually got him cut after he could not make 170 pounds and then even 185 pounds for a 2012 loss to Vitor Belfort. He rebounded in lesser promotions and got another shot in the UFC, destroying current Bellator champ Phil Davis in his return at April 2014’s UFC 172 to instantly reinsert himself into the light heavyweight title picture.
“Rumble” gave his respect to both DC and former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who sat cageside. Although he may have two losses to the current champion, Johnson is still undoubtedly one of the top three light heavyweights in all of MMA, and the UFC and the sport will be sad to see him go.
Rumble on, young man, rumble on. Watch him announce his retirement courtesy of the UFC right here: