Two-time UFC light heavyweight title challenger, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson can officially make his much-anticipated Octagon return, at heavyweight – as soon as this coming February.
The Georgia knockout artist has officially returned to the USADA testing-pool this week – following his shock decision to retire from professional mixed martial arts after a UFC 210 light heavyweight title challenge loss to then-champion, Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier in April 2016.
Johnson, 36 – per a follow-up report from ESPN reporter, Brett Okamoto, will have to spend a period of six months within the anti-drug program, which would leave a return to active competition possible this coming February. Johnson originally announced his intentions to return to the USADA testing-pool in August of last year, however, as of this week, the former perennial contender has officially returned.
The Boca Raton based striker is heralded as one of the most feared knockout artists in the sport’s and promotion’s history, scoring an eye-catching sixteen separate finishes via strikes from his twenty-two professional triumphs.
Between two stints under the UFC banner, Johnson accumulated a 13-6 record, originally featuring on the scales as low as welterweight. In career highlight stoppages, Johnson finished the likes of Kevin Burns, Charlie Brenneman, ‘Minotouro’ Nogueira, Alexander Gustafsson, Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader, and in his most recent professional win, stopped one-time title challenger, Glover Teixeira with a thirteen-second uppercut knockout
Last year, Johnson teased a heavyweight return – floating potential outings opposite the likes of decorated Dutch kickboxer, Alistair ‘The Demolition Man’ Overeem, and former heavyweight gold holder, Junior ‘Cigano’ dos Santos.
Former K-1 World Grand Prix victor, Overeem is currently scheduled to headline a UFC Fight Night Vegas card opposite, Augusto Sakai on September 5th. – while American Top Team staple, dos Santos dropped his third consecutive knockout defeat, losing in a second-round bludgeoning to Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 252 earlier this month.