Friday, January 02, 2009

Johnson Returns Home

Originally posted in the Courier Herald

When former Raider wrestler and current UFC fighter Anthony Johnson glanced up and saw former coach Gerald Carr, he opened the conversation with a quick handshake and a hug.

Then, much the same way Johnson has handled his young yet successful career, the 170-pound-fighter got down to business.

“So. Coach, about stealing my name,” Johnson said.

“Huh?” Carr replied.

“Yeah. Raider Storm.”

“Your name?”

“Yeah. I’m sure your memory is slippin’ in your old age.”

“When did all this happen?”

“At practice.”

“Practice. That was a long time ago.”

Then the pair chuckled back and forth, forgetting about their lunch for minutes at the time while they reminisced, and Carr got a quick primer on the Mixed Martial Arts world that has become Johnson’s career and life.

“So, how much weight did you have to cut for this one,” said Carr, twisting his voice up as he waited for an answer.

3-0, Johnson replied with his left hand as he took a bite of lunch.

“Hey, but that’s nothing I’m not used to,” Johnson said. “Heck, back in college I had to drop 18 pounds.”

Johnson was less than a week removed from winning a rematch with Kevin Burns; the man, who three months earlier, had detached his retina and sliced open his right eye.

“I didn’t want to just knock him out,” Johnson said. “I wanted to pick him to pieces, then knock him out. I did alright, but I could have done better.”

That same humility is what helped guide the Raider wrestler to the ranks of state champion, and eventually to a national title with Lassen Community College in California.

Click here to read the entire article at the Courier Herald



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