Johnson Respects Hardy’s Striking, Will Wrestle Him if Necessary


Anthony Johnson (left) | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com


Dan Hardy was knocked out in his last fight, but upcoming opponent Anthony Johnson remains complimentary of the Brit’s standup game.

“He’s a great striker,” Johnson said recently on the Sherdog Radio Network. “He just made that one technical mistake with Carlos Condit, and Carlos capitalized on it and got the better end of the deal. Just because he got knocked out doesn’t make him a bad fighter. He’s still an amazing fighter. I still love watching the guy fight.”

Hardy and Condit fired left hooks on each other simultaneously. Condit’s was tighter and landed first, ending the UFC 120 matchup 4:27 into the first round.

The defeat was Hardy’s second in a row after losing a five-round decision to welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 111. In that matchup, Hardy showed his toughness but was also unable to stay on his feet. Johnson may also look to take him down when they meet March 26 at UFC Fight Night 24.

“If I want to take it to the ground, I know I can,” Johnson said. “I can wrestle. I’m not saying that he can’t, but I think my wrestling is better. It’s more solid.”

Johnson also isn’t saying that he won’t trade with Hardy on the feet.

“Both of our striking [games] are solid of course,” he said. “We’ll see. I think it’s going to be a great fight.”

The 26-year-old Johnson is also coming off a defeat. In his most recent fight, Josh Koscheck submitted him with a rear-naked choke in November 2009. Johnson spent 2010 recovering from a torn meniscus. He doesn’t believe Hardy has experience fighting anyone like him.

“Not at all,” Johnson said. “I don’t think anybody in the UFC matches my style of fighting.”

Johnson had tied together three straight impressive finishes before losing to Koscheck. With a win over a former title challenger, he could move back into the mix of contenders at 170 pounds. He said the title is not on his mind right now, however.

“I just want to keep fighting and keep improving,” Johnson explained. “Like I said, I’ll make a statement whenever I’m a champ. That’s when I’ll know I deserve to be there. Not having one or two fights and automatically getting a title shot. I don’t want to take that road.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:08:22) with Johnson, who also discussed his six dogs.

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