Monday, June 23, 2008

"Rumble" Johnson unfazed by recent UFC date change

by John Morgan for on Jun 23, 2008 at 9:27 am ET

No stranger to fighting on short notice, UFC welterweight Anthony Johnson (5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) was recently forced to adjust his training schedule. The UFC moved Johnson's bout with Kevin Burns from UFC 87 on Aug. 9 up three weeks to the newly announced UFC Fight Night 14. But Johnson says that's just fine; the results will still be the same.

Johnson discussed the upcoming bout while a recent guest on TAGG Radio (, the official radio partner of (

"Sometimes when things come knocking at your door, you just got to open it and just accept what it is," Johnson said. "I would rather have (fought at) UFC 87, but if [the UFC] needs me for July 19, I'll be ready for that, too. It's whatever to me. I'll take either month, any event that comes my way."

"Rumble" last fought in April, stunning "The Ultimate Fighter 6" runner-up Tommy Speer with a devastating barrage of punches that ended the bout in its first minute. And while Johnson knows his exciting style has scored points with fans, he is also aware it's not yet his turn to call the shots.

"It's more like a favor," Johnson said. "I'm not big enough to be saying, 'Hey I want this and I want that.' I'm just staying humble. Hey, they're giving me an opportunity, so I'm taking it."

Burns is making a quick return to the octagon as well, having upset Roan Carneiro earlier this month at UFC 85. That performance earned Burns a hefty "Submission of the Night" bonus. Johnson explained his strategy for outlasting Burns on the ground.

"I'm just a blue belt (in jiu-jitsu)," Johnson admitted. "I'm not going to say I suck on the ground, but I'm not great. I'll hold onto you for dear life, but you're not going to see me putting on any submissions. I'd rather punch you in the face."

Johnson was impressed by Burns' debut performance, but he feels up to the challenge.

"He's a tough guy," Johnson said of Burns. "A lot of people doubted him just because it was his first UFC fight. But I don't doubt any opponent that I fight. Anything can happen. There's always a puncher's chance. Something crazy can happen. I'm just ready for Kevin. I'm ready to do this fight now.

Johnson, who burst into the UFC with a lightning-fast, 13-second victory in his UFC debut a year ago, also offered some advice to his upcoming opponent.

"I just hope Kevin keeps his chin tucked, because if he doesn't, his head is going to be sitting in somebody's lap in the audience."

Johnson also discussed his childhood, amateur wrestling career and how he feels about being referred to as a "Young Vitor Belfort." To hear the full interview, download Thursday's edition of TAGG Radio, available for free in the TAGG Radio archives.



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