Anthony Johnson has had a long, famous fight with weight limits. He twice missed weight at 170 in the UFC, once missing out on 20% of his purse plus a Knockout of the Night bonus because of it. Then he moved up to 185, and weighed in at 196 vs. Vitor Belfort, who choked him out in the first, and he was released.
His next fight, vs. David Branch at Titan FC, he missed weight again. His opponent did too. His next fight for Titan FC was at light heavyweight. Eight months later, he beat Andrei Arlovski, at heavyweight.
So what was going wrong when he was missing weight?
“I was young and stupid," said Johnson to the LVRJ. "Plain and simple. Stupid in the cage, stupid out of the cage. I was just stupid back then. I was just making dumb choices and not doing things the way I needed to. Just young and dumb and not caring as much as I should have. I can’t say I didn’t care because I did care. But my head just wasn’t completely in it.
“I don’t blame UFC and Dana for cutting me. They did what they had to do and I respect that."
Johnson matured into a light heavyweight The heavy-handed former JUCO national champ was won six fights in a row outside the UFC. Saturday night he makes his return, vs. Phil Davis at UFC 172, live on PPV.
“I haven’t thought about a second chance," said Johnson. "I kinda just went with the flow of life, and if it happened, it happened, and if it didn’t, it didn’t. I didn’t put all my eggs in the basket of getting back here. I was focused on performing for whoever I was working for at the time.”
“When I was first in UFC I was just an athlete that didn’t know much and was just relying on natural ability to get by. Now, I’m someone who actually loves the sport. It was fun back then, but it’s more fun now. I had to mature.”
“I finally hit the wall where I had no choice but to grow. Everybody has to go through that in their life. Every man has been through that point in their life where they think they know everything. You just have to hit that wall where you just realize I don’t know everything, and that’s when you start accepting things and become willing to expand your mind and learn.”
Saturday the Blackzilian, and the world, will get a chance to see what he has learned.
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