On Saturday night at UFC on Fox 12, No. 5-ranked Anthony "Rumble" Johnson squared off against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a light heavyweight matchup.
Johnson was making his second appearance since returning to the UFC. His first match back saw him score a unanimous-decision victory over Phil Davis in April.
Nogueira had won his last two straight, with a TKO over Tito Ortiz in December 2011 and a unanimous decision over Rashad Evans in February 2013. He had been dealing with injuries to his back and knee, which caused extended layoffs.
My goodness. Rumble Johnson is a SCARY dude.— Bleacher Report MMA (@BR_MMA) July 27, 2014
In the first round of this fight—within the first minute, in fact—Johnson scored a TKO victory over Nogueira. Rumble tagged Nogueira with a shot early, which backed him up against the cage, where Johnson landed several solid uppercuts to finish the fight at 44 seconds.
What We'll Remember About the Fight
Johnson was absolutely dominant. He rocked Nogueira early and then landed multiple uppercuts and hooks against the fence. Nogueira's legs wobbled, and then Johnson landed one more before referee Herb Dean jumped in to stop the fight.
What We Learned About Johnson
He is terrifying as a light heavyweight. Rumble is on an eight-fight win streak with five TKOs, including victories over Phil Davis, Mike Kyle, Jake Rosholt and the No. 14-ranked heavyweight and former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski.
What We Learned About Nogueira
It's hard to say what we learned about Nogueira because Johnson dominated him so quickly. Nogueira has been knocked out before, and he has been beaten by other top UFC prospects before. At this point, it looks like Nogueira will simply be a gatekeeper in this division.
Who Should Johnson Face Next?
What's Next for Johnson?
There are plenty of options for Johnson to take next. He's only fought one person in the Top 15 of the division even though he is ranked No. 5. Several appealing options would be fights against some legends, including Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua. If the UFC would rather have him fight another younger guy first, the winner of Ryan Bader vs. Ovince Saint Preux on August 16 would make sense as an opponent.
What's Next for Nogueira?
Either retirement or remaining in the division as a gatekeeper. It's hard to tell and will probably come down to how Nogueira feels in a few days. He's been dealing with injuries on and off since at least 2009. Retirement would make a lot of sense.
If he decides to stick around, maybe he could meet Dan Henderson, whom he faced and was submitted by in Pride in 2005.