Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is an enormous welterweight, and that seemed to cause him problems on the day of the weigh-ins for UFC 104. The scales jumped past the ideal 170 pound weight up to 176, but his fight with Yoshiyuki Yoshida stayed on tap for the main card.
Johnson explained after the fight in an interview on UFC.com, that an injury before his scheduled fight with Matt Brown let his weight get into heavyweight range, as he claimed to bulk up to 220 pounds.
For the record, Johnson has really only had problems making weight once before, missing the weight limit before his bout with Rich Clementi. He claims that he could have cut the rest of the weight if he received a little extra time.
However, the fight went on Saturday night, as the man nicknamed “Rumble” absolutely rolled through Yoshida, who has been brutally knocked out in two consecutive fights. Unfortunately for Johnson, his weight problems prevented a $60,000 Knockout of the Night bonus from coming his way.
That being said, one thing that is undeniable is the fact that this guy is for real. After his loss to Kevin Burns at UFN 14, which was showered in controversy, Johnson has gone on to win his next three fights quite convincingly.
After avenging his loss to Burns, Johnson destroyed Luigi Fioravanti, and obliterated Yoshida. Regardless of the weight issue, this gigantic welterweight competitor is capable of putting together a great career if the UFC is willing to toss him a higher level of competition.
Unfortunately, this past week saw high ranked welterweights such as Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, and Martin Kampmann land future opponents. In fact, the vast majority of the top tier welterweights are already booked for future fights. However, one very big name is currently without an opponent after signing a rather large contract.
Matt Hughes is coming off a close decision victory over Matt Serra at UFC 98, and has yet to dive into the octagon after signing a big deal with the UFC several months ago. Johnson is in desperate need for some real competition, and Hughes certainly has the credentials.
However, Hughes does not seem anxious to get back into the welterweight picture, leaving one other big name as a possible match up.
Paulo Thiago suffered his first loss at UFC 100 to Jon Fitch via unanimous decision. However, like Hughes, he would be an immense leap up in competition for “Rumble”.
While either Hughes or Thiago would be fine opponents for Johnson, if neither of those two is willing to take on the giant 170-pounder, future match ups could clear a path for “Rumble” into the Top 10 of the division.
Mike Swick and Dan Hardy are set to dual at UFC 105 next month. The winner of that will likely receive a title shot against divisional kingpin Georges St. Pierre. However, the loser would become a very viable option for Johnson.
Yet regardless of his future opponent, Johnson has worked his way into a position deserving of sterner competition. The weight cut has rarely been a problem for Johnson, even though he drops possibly more than any other person who is a professional mixed martial artist, and is no reason to say this knock out artist should not receive tougher opposition.
“Rumble” has destroyed his last three opponents. He has heavy hands and the desire to succeed in the sport as a welterweight, as well as being one of the greatest athletes in the UFC.
With contenders at 170 pounds becoming harder and harder to find, it may be in the UFC’s best interest to increase his level of competition, for it may not be long before Johnson becomes an undeniable contender in the division ruled by Georges St. Pierre.