Anthony Johnson at the TUF 8 Finale
It’s a word often used in the fight game to describe athletes up and down the rankings. From the prospects to the champions, the word ‘potential’ is thrown around, no matter the fighter or what his circumstances are.
In the eyes of welterweight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (8-3), the potential to do big things in the UFC is still very much in the picture, regardless of the outcome of his last fight and subsequent layoff.
In his upcoming bout against Dan Hardy (23-8, 1 NC) at UFC Fight Night 24, Johnson will look to make a statement about who he is and what he does in the sport of mixed martial arts – just as he feels he does in all his fights.
“I thought I’d make a statement every time I fight to let everybody know who I am,” Johnson said recently. “That’s just who I am, period. And yet I have to go out there and show that I’m back, so it’s time to go out there, (put those) hands up and (do) what me and Dan (do) best, and that’s to throw punches and blow blows and knock people out.”
And that is the potential that lies within the machine that is Anthony Johnson. When he walks through the gated entrance of the UFC’s Octagon, the chances of a fight ending in knockout jumps tenfold. Power in both hands combined with a frame built for two weight classes heavier tends to have that effect.
In a fight with the type of fighter Dan Hardy is, that knockout potential multiplies to a number higher than what this writer can count to. In any case, someone is going to get rocked and that frame of mind stays on the brain of the welterweight.
“One way or the other, somebody is getting knocked out,” he said. “And like Dan said, no disrespect to him or anybody else, when I play, I will be the winner.
“And that’s just how it is for with me… That’s my mind frame.”
When someone is good at something and is forced not to do it, one can become a little stir crazy. Having had his last fight in November of 2009, Johnson has officially been on the shelf for 16 months. Admittedly, the time has been difficult for him, but he’s not focused on that. What he’s focusing on is that potential people talk about – the potential to do damage and return to the upper end of the rankings, working his way through Hardy in the process.
“Everything was hard, man,” Johnson said about his time away with injury. “You hate sitting around and then whenever you do have to get back and after being off for so long, (you’re) kind of sluggish and stuff like that. But I mean that was then and this is now and everything has been going very well. So (the) sky is the limit.”
A win at UFC Fight Night 24: Nogueira vs. Davis will certainly propel Johnson into limelight once again. His chance to “Rumble” with Dan Hardy takes place Saturday night in Seattle.
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Erik Fontanez is a staff writer for MMAWeekly.com.
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