ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – After a win over heavyweight Andrei Arlovski (19-10) at Saturday’s World Series of Fighting 2 event, Anthony Johnson (15-4) told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he’s now committed to a life at light heavyweight.
A victory over a hard-hitting and bigger opponent at Revel Atlantic City in New Jersey gave Johnson a big boost of confidence, though he now plans to fight guys who are closer to his size.
“I’m just blessed to be able to beat someone like that,” said Johnson, who actually broke Arlovski’s jaw during the NBC Sports Network-televised headliner. “I really challenged myself. I never once thought I’d be fighting Andrei Arlovski.”
But the former welterweight, who’s bounced around weight classes during his current 7-1 run, believes he’s found a home at 205 pounds. He’s also found a home at Jaco Hybrid Training Center, home to the famed “Blackzilians” camp. While the Florida-based team has come under fire following high-profile losses by Rashad Evans, Alistair Overeem and others, Johnson wonders why their success is so easily ignored.
“Every team has losses,” he said after his unanimous-decision win. “Losses don’t define who you are.
“People always want to talk about the losses, not the wins. Everybody talks about Rashad’s loss. Everybody talks about Alistair’s loss. But Vitor Belfort is one of my training partners. He just high-kicked Michael Bisping (for a knockout win). You all talked about that for five minutes. You’re all still talking about the losses we had. What about the wins we had?”
Saturday, in fact, proved a solid night for the Blackzilians. Although Gesias Cavalcante suffered a TKO loss due to a cut, both Johnson and Danillo Villefort were victorious on the WSOF 2 card.
In fact, Johnson said his team is a big reason he was able to defeat Arlovski, a former UFC champion. Arlovski was on a 4-0 run before WSOF 2 and had finished three of his opponents with strikes.
Johnson knew the Belarusian was finding his stride in recent years, so even though he was close to a TKO stoppage in the first round and thought their fight might be over, he knew Arlovski would still be dangerous in the later rounds.
“When the ref stepped in and the crowd was screaming, I thought it was done,” he said of a first-round sequence that saw him drop Arlovski with a quick right hand before the bell cut short his follow-up ground and pound. “That’s when I jumped up and had my hands up, and I was about ready to throw my mouthpiece on the floor and beat on my chest and act like an animal. But they said it wasn’t over.
“I knew he still had it in him. Andrei has them one-hitter quitters, as I call them. He’ll hit one time, and your lights will be out for a long time. Once I clipped him, I’m like a pitbull or any kind of dog that just wants to jump on you once they smell blood or get a taste of it.”
Johnson has one fight left on his WSOF contract but said he plans to stick with the organization. He said he’s “happy” where he’s at. That includes his decision to fight at 205 pounds.
But as for a next opponent? He’ll let WSOF officials decide that.
“I don’t call people out anymore,” he said. “I’m not 21. Calling people out and trying to say this and that gets you nowhere. It might get you a butt-whoopin’ if you call out the wrong person.”
“That’s what I’m hoping for, and that’s what I want,” he said. “I’ve got one more fight left (on my WSOF contract), and I’m not going anywhere.”
For more on WSOF 2, stay tuned to the MMA Events section of the site.