Former WWE heavyweight champion/action movie star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is an avid fan of mixed martial arts, which was evident in a recent question and answer with UFC: The Official Magazine.
Johnson says he keeps a close eye on the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, and despite a good relationship with 205-pound champ Jon Jones, he sees a new kingpin of the weight class by next year, per UFC.com:
I always have my eyes on the champions, specifically the heavyweight and light heavyweight champs. ... My buddy Jon Jones is a very special fighter who bridges fighting and artistry like no one ever before has. They’re both incredibly inspiring champions who are needle movers in the world of MMA. And I bet 2015 will be the year of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson: a bad dude. When he becomes champion, I’m gonna have to claim him as my cousin! [Laughs]
Anthony Johnson (no relation to The Rock) has been on a tear since being exiled from the UFC for missing weight and then getting choked out by Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 in January 2012.
Rumble has since won seven fights in a row (five finishes), including a dominant return to the Octagon in April when he outclassed perennial contender Phil Davis at UFC 172.
The Blackzilian team member returns to action at UFC on Fox 12 Saturday when he takes on former Pride star Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Saturday night marks Little Nog's return to the cage after nearly 18 months on the sidelines due to various injuries.
Prior to the rough patch, the highly regarded Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt notched back-to-back victories over former champions Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans.
According to the UFC's official rankings, Johnson is the No. 5 light heavyweight in the world, while Nogueira is unranked due to inactivity.
Will Rumble be able to pull off an unlikely career turnaround and capture UFC gold in 2015, or will he fail to ever take out the elite competitors of the UFC's light heavyweight division?