After a tough loss to UFC light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier at UFC 210, fearsome knockout artist Anthony "Rumble" Johnson announced his shocking retirement from mixed martial arts during his post-fight interview.
"I don’t have any excuses. I lost to the better man. Props to DC," he said. He continued on:
This is something I had to do for me. I love you all—this is my last fight. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t tell Dana White. My family and my friends knew, but I didn’t want any distractions. I enjoyed the UFC. Thank you. I will never, ever forget you, and what better place to end my career than Buffalo, New York.
The news, quite frankly, comes out of nowhere. Despite the loss, Johnson is widely regarded as one of the best fighters at 205 pounds and one of the best finishers in the sport. He has found consistent success in the cage as well, entering UFC 210 with a 12-1 record in the cage over the last five years. On top of that, at age 33, he is one of the division's younger talents.
It is unclear what Johnson intends to do at this point, offering up no information beyond stating that he is not leaving the UFC for another promotion. What's more, the UFC would most likely be able to block him from competing in a different sport like boxing or kickboxing, so this would likely mean his departure from all combat sports.
Of course, many fighters retire only to quickly return, and with Johnson still very relevant near the top of the light heavyweight division, there is a real chance he can be lured back into the cage. For now, though, the division has lost one of its best fighters.