As someone who has bounced around MMA promotions and weight classes, Anthony Johnson has the mind of a veteran.
So, when he sat down and watched fellow light heavyweights Ryan Bader and Ovince St. Preux collide for 25 minutes, he saw something that wasn’t pleasing to the eye.
“It was a boring fight,” said Johnson, during a recent interview with UFC.com. “Exciting fighters put on exciting fights, and that’s what fans want to see.”
Johnson is coming off a dominating finish of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira that followed a convincing decision vs. former top contender Phil Davis in his return to the promotion. “Rumble” was cut after missing weight in 2012 against Vitor Belfort, a fight he lost via submission.
Since that time, the 30-year-old has won eight straight, including a win at heavyweight over former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski and finishes in five bouts total.
As for what could be next, Johnson has his sights set on Bader, who defeated St. Preux via decision.
“People want me to start calling people out,” Johnson said. “I never did that before. But I’ve always wanted to fight Ryan Bader because I’ve always thought he was a tough fighter. Hopefully I’ll be able to fight in late October or something like that if there are any fights open.
“I was hoping I could fight Bader in late October and fight (Alexander Gustafsson) on the Jon Jones card. That’s my idea.”
Gustafsson was the No. 1 contender, but an injury knocked him out of a planned September title fight with Jones. Daniel Cormier was tabbed as his replacement, but “Bones” went down with an injury of his own and the fight was pushed back to January.
While “The Mauler” wants to sit and wait for his title opportunity, Johnson is ready to test his skills against him.
“It will be a good fight,” he said. “Gus is taller than me, but I think we have the same amount of length of reach. Gus likes to move a lot and I like to stalk people to see what they have to offer.
“It will be a hell of a fight. I definitely want to give the fans what they want to see.”