Wednesday, August 13, 2008


By Percy Crawford for | August 13, 2008

"Hopefully I can fight in October in Chicago; that's the one I would really like to get on. I think that's UFC 90. I want to fight there, but if they want me to fight on Spike TV, I'll fight there too...I will finish my next fight by knockout," stated UFC welterweight Anthony Johnson as he talked about his recovery from eye surgery and when he hopes to return to the Octagon. Check out what else he had to say as he talks more about the eye poke, St. Pierre's dominating win over Jon Fitch and much more.

PC: How is your eye doing my man?

AJ: It's doing good man. I go back to the doctor on the 27th. I don't have on the patch anymore and it's not as red as it was before so it's healing up pretty good. I still have stitches in it. I can feel them on my eyeball still and I can actually see them in the mirror, but it's coming along good.

PC: He got you pretty good in your eye. At the time of the incident, did you think it was this bad?

AJ: No, I didn't know. I had no idea. I knew he poked me in the eye and they said I had a cut on my eye, but I didn't know I would have to have surgery.

PC: You've pretty much had to operate using one eye only. What is your vision like right now and are the doctors saying you will have your full vision back?

AJ: Oh yeah. I will recover 100%. Right now though, it's like you say, I only got one good eye. It's coming along. I had bad eyesight anyway, but since I had that surgery, it's made my eye sight even better, but you know, we'll see.

PC: Did the doctors say if you will have any lingering affects from the eye poke?

AJ: No!

PC: You ran into Steve Mazagatti at a local fight. What was said at that encounter?

AJ: He just said he apologizes and as soon as he saw the replay, he knew he made the wrong call. I didn't hold it against Mazagatti because he was on the opposite side of the eye gauge; the last one. I don't have any hard feelings against Mazagatti. I knew if I was in his situation and had the angle he had, I would've made the exact same call. He was on the opposite side. The side that I actually blocked, which is my left side, he was on that side.

PC: Burns threw an uppercut that didn't land, but at first sight, I could see him thinking that was the shot that dropped you and there is no instant replay in MMA.

AJ: Yeah, he threw the uppercut and that's why I blocked with my left because I saw the uppercut coming from a mile away because he swings real wild so I knew he was coming with an uppercut and that's why I had my left hand up and I twisted my body a little bit to protect my chin from the uppercut and it left my eye wide open. He hit me with the eye gauge and it sent me back. If I was in Mazagatti's situation at the time of the fight, I would've made that same call.

PC: I read where people feel you should be pissed at the UFC, Mazagatti and Kevin Burns, but you told me you didn't see a need for that. Can you explain that a little more?

AJ: The UFC is just the organization that's hosting the fight. Mazagatti did his job. If he could, he would reverse the call, but he can't; that's in the rule books. Once an official makes a call, they can't reverse the decision. I wish he would've warned him earlier, besides just the one time, about poking me in the eye. I could be bitter against Kevin, but he did what he did. I ain't hating on him, but one day, we're gonna fight again and hopefully his hand will be fixed so he don't have an excuse. The next time we fight, I'm going to knock him out.

PC: I was going to ask you if you were over the Kevin Burns situation or would you still like a rematch?

AJ: I'm over it dog. I have been over it. In the interview…I watched the fight last night actually and he told Joe Rogan he's willing to fight me again. I'll fight him again, but it's really no point. I was beating him, but if he wants that rematch, then I'll give it to him. I won't say no to the man. I won't ever back down from somebody.

PC: You're going to the doctor on the 27th, but what's the timetable on you training again?

AJ: I'm actually starting back today even though I only got one eye. I might just be doing cardio and hitting the bag because I'm assed out on the contact end still, but we'll see. I'm hoping at the beginning of September, I will be able to get back in there and take a beating like I used to. Hopefully I can fight in October in Chicago; that's the one I would really like to get on. I think that's UFC 90. I want to fight there, but if they want me to fight on Spike TV, I'll fight there too. Spike TV has helped me out more than the PPV shows and all of that stuff so whichever one comes first.

PC: Do you have to go in front of the Commission or is this something that has to be resolved in court?

AJ: I know me and my managers at MMA Agents, Ken Pavia and those guys, have to go to a Vegas court and appeal it in front of a Commission I guess. I don't think it would be right to keep it as a loss on my record. I know a fight is a fight and things happen, but if you know you can't close your hand all of the way, why would you put another man's career at risk and fight anyway. We come to fight, not play patty cake, so if you can't close your hand, you shouldn't fight just to be fighting. Why fight?

PC: What has the reception been like for you when people see you out?

AJ: The fans have been so supportive. I was at the MMA Expo in Long Beach with my boys from MMA Jacked and Soldier Fight Gear and I was getting a lot of love. I didn't hear any negative comments. Even when I'm out around here in San Jose and Hayward, I have been getting a lot of love so I appreciate that.

PC: Great welterweight fight Saturday at UFC 87. What did you think of the GSP-Fitch fight?

AJ: Man, look, Fitch finished that fight on pure heart. I try not to be a nuthugger of any fighter, including myself, but Fitch has my respect. Everybody knows the talent and the type of raw athlete GSP is and Fitch could probably sense he wasn't on his level, but he finished the fight on heart. GSP has been putting guys away and he didn't put Fitch away. Fitch looked beat up after the fight, but he finished it and that says a lot. I give props to GSP for defending his title because he's never done that before. Serra ruined it for him last time and since that fight, it's like he's determined to lose. GSP has been where Fitch is before. When he lost to Matt Hughes, he came back, dominated Hughes and became a world champion. Fitch will probably be the same way. I think Fitch will be a champion some day. I look forward to being in the division with both of these guys man.

PC: As always my man, it's great to get a word with you. I'm glad to hear that your eye is healing on schedule. Anything you want to say to the fans that have been sending you get well wishes?

AJ: I want to thank everybody. My mom, my dad; to my fans, I'm sorry I couldn't finish the fight because of the eye poke, but I will finish my next fight by knockout. I want to give a shout out to my boys at MMA Jacked, Soldier Fight Gear, Tapout and RBG (Royal Blue Generations Kennels).



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