Anthony Johnson was one among many new acquisitions Scott Coker made to bolster Bellator MMA’s roster in 2019. And it got here at an ideal time as a result of the promotion not too long ago introduced its Mild Heavyweight Grand Prix.
As a matter of truth, “Rumble” was booked to face off one other one among Bellator’s new signings and former UFC fighter, Yoel Romero, on the upcoming Bellator 257 on April 16, 2021 within the opening spherical. For Johnson, making the transfer to Bellator simply appeared proper, and he left UFC with no unwell will.
“I’m simply able to go and combat. I stay up for the competitors that’s on the market. I feel we will compete with the UFC with what we now have. Lots of people suppose that simply because the Bellator promotion isn’t what the UFC promotion is that the fighters aren’t the identical calibre, and there’s all the time ranges to every little thing. Each enterprise, each promotion. However Bellator isn’t any joke,” mentioned Johnson in an interview on The Spaniard Present (through MMA Fighting).
Johnson says it’s a must to look no additional than Michael Chandler’s first spherical knockout of Dan Hooker at UFC 257 (relive it here) — which marked the UFC debut of the previous Bellator Light-weight champion — as proof that Bellator’s fighters are greater than legit.
“Take a look at my man, my teammate Michael Chandler went over there and destroyed Dan Hooker. Smoked him. However I knew that was coming. I’m like, y’all don’t understand how harmful Michael Chandler is. And though he got here from a smaller promotion, he’s nonetheless an elite fighter,” he mentioned.
“He wasn’t there being the champ and preventing the perfect of the perfect for no purpose. He went to warfare with Eddie Alvarez and to me, Eddie Alvarez is for certain the best fighter ever for my part as a result of he’s been to each group and received the title. Folks don’t give that man credit score.”
To listen to Johnson inform it — in addition to many others earlier than him — gone are the times when being a “UFC fighter” is the top all be all in MMA. As a result of with Bellator rising and different organizations taking steps to extend their roster and recognition, making good cash exterior of the Octagon is feasible for those who’re a fighter.
“I additionally see that followers at the moment are beginning to perceive that you simply don’t must be only a UFC fighter to achieve success and be capable of feed your loved ones and be one thing. So don’t be afraid to go exterior of the field if there’s different issues on the market you need to have the ability to do in different promotions, go for it. Strive it out. And I feel Bellator for me was the precise transfer.”
Johnson left UFC after shedding to Daniel Cormier a second time in 2017 with an general document of 13-6 in two runs with the promotion.