Dana White ‘Blown Away’ By ‘Rumble’ Johnson, But Says He’s Not Ready For A Title Shot
Last night’s (July 26, 2014) UFC on FOX 12: Lawler vs. Brown card was a great night of fights.
Although the card only delivered three stoppages out of the twelve fights presented, they were, nonetheless, entertaining. Of the finishes that did happen, one KO and two submissions, the one that impressed the most had to be that of light-heavyweight Anthony Johnson and his utter dismantling of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Needing only 44 seconds of the first round, Johnson laid an absolute beating on “Minotoro” and in doing so, made it all look very easy.
At the event’s post-fight press conference, the question was put to UFC President Dana White regarding Anthony Johnson’s position within the 205-pound division and what future match might be made for the surging No. 5 ranked fighter. As it stands, there appears to be no clear-cut pairing to be made for “Rumble” and a match becomes even more problematic, when taking into consideration that Johnson has stated that he has no interest in fighting his friend, Rashad Evans.
In answer, White stated that he was “blown away” by Johnson’s UFC on FOX 12 performance and that regardless of the division’s landscape, that he would find Johnson “another fight.”
“There’s no doubt that he’s a contender, but he still needs another fight to get up into that (echelon), ya know. It’s amazing, I don’t know, I don’t think, we’ve ever had a guy go from 170 to 205 and actually be more powerful and more devastating than he was at 170. It’s crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it. He looked fantastic tonight. I saw a lot of stuff on Twitter with the idiots going ‘this was a horrible fight. Come on, Johnson just came back at 205, “Lil Nog” is one of the toughest craftiest veterans and before he got hurt I think he was ranked No. 5 in that division. So, I was blown away by Anthony’s performance. He made it quick and he made it look easy; unbelievable. So, we’ll get him another fight.”
As to which fighter White might select for Johnson, it’s difficult to say. However, the options are not great. Champion Jon Jones is booked to fight No. 2 ranked Daniel Cormier at UFC 178 this coming September 27, so those two are off the table. Alexander Gustafsson in out with a knee injury and with “Rumble” not wanting to fight Rashad Evans, that only leaves Glover Teixeira as the one fighter ahead of Johnson in the rankings that might work. However, Teixeira was pretty banged up after his title loss to Jon Jones at last April’s UFC 172 event in Baltimore. As such, he might not be healthy enough to take the match.
Regarding the rest of the division, they’re either booked, banged up or simply not suitable opponents. Truly, it would seem that short of Glover Teixeira being healthy, White could be hard pressed to find a decent match for Johnson.