Former UFC Light Heavyweight Title Contender Anthony Johnson Signs with Bellator MMA

By: Tudor Leonte
Dec 9, 2020

Bellator MMA is adding a heavy hitter to its 205-pound division.

It appears that Anthony Johnson (22-6) will eventually make his long-awaited return to MMA, but not in the promotion everyone was expecting. On Wednesday morning, ESPN reported that the former two-time UFC light heavyweight championship contender has signed with Bellator. "Rumble" will most likely compete at 205 pounds, but other reports indicate that he might test himself in the heavyweight division, as well. Johnson is expected to compete in the first half of 2021.

The 36-year old fighter hadn’t stepped inside the cage since April 2017, when he lost to Daniel Cormier in a title clash at UFC 210. Shortly after tapping to a second-round rear-naked choke, "Rumble" announced his retirement from the sport. The first title encounter between Johnson and "DC" also ended in a submission loss for “Rumble” when they locked horns for the interim championship at UFC 187. Johnson finished his UFC tenure with a 13-6 record.

Johnson has voiced the idea of his return for a while now. In October 2019, he announced his intention to compete again after watching the rematch between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic at UFC 241, crediting that match for providing him with the motivation to return. “Rumble” planned to make his debut in the heavyweight division, years after fighting in the welterweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight divisions. Even though he never again made that walk to the Octagon, he entered the USADA testing pool in late August 2020. He would have become eligible to compete in the UFC starting February.

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