Anthony Johnson is eligible to make his much-anticipated return in early 2021 after re-entering the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool.
The UFC light heavyweight division has been in the headlines for past couple of weeks. Jon Jones, who ruled the weight class, vacated his belt, plotting a move up to the heavyweight division. Also, Johnson making a potential comeback has put the division on the radar. He has been hinting a comeback, but re-entering the USADA pool makes it official.
Johnson’s manager Ali Abdelaziz believes ‘Rumble’ will be eligible to fight in February 2021, approximately six months after re-entering the USADA testing tool.
Johnson is back!
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto confirmed the news on Twitter. (via Twitter):
Following up on my report last week, Anthony Johnson (@Anthony_Rumble) has, in fact, entered the UFC/USADA testing pool, per his manager Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00). He has to test six months before he's eligible to compete. February 2021, Rumble returns.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) August 25, 2020
“Following up on my report last week, Anthony Johnson (@Anthony_Rumble) has, in fact, entered the UFC/USADA testing pool, per his manager Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00). He has to test six months before he’s eligible to compete. February 2021, Rumble returns.”
The news did come as a surprise as contrary to his reason for retirement that he suffered from health issues, even risking brain injury. (via BJPenn.com):
“My health, man,” Johnson said on Booker T’s Heated Conversations podcast. “You hear about CTE and all this other stuff. Head injuries. You’re harming your body playing football and stuff like that, but this stuff can happen just as fast in mixed martial arts like any other sport because we’re constantly beating on each other. I love myself, you know what I’m saying? A lot of guys don’t think about that.”
Johnson retired from the sport after losing in his second title shot against then champ Daniel Cormier at UFC 210 back in April 2017. He first fought for the vacant light heavyweight belt at UFC 187 in March 2015 where he suffered a second-round submission defeat. However, he did well the first round having Cormier in a heap of trouble.
He is known for his powerhouse knockouts that would brutally put his opponents to sleep. He has wins over top-tier fighters like Dan Hardy, Andrei Arlovski, Phil Davis, Ryan Bader, Glover Texeira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Jimi Manuwa and Alexander Gustafsson.