Saturday, March 28, 2009

Johnson: ‘No Limit For Me’

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Anthony Johnson has some choice words for John Howard.

One of the welterweight division’s fastest-rising stars, Johnson was scheduled to lock horns with Howard at “The Ultimate Fighter 9” Finale on June 20 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Howard, however, recently excused himself from the bout and left Johnson without a dance partner.

“I’m supposed to fight June 20,” Johnson told the Sherdog Radio Network’s Savage Dog Show last week. “I don’t know what his deal is [with Howard]. At first, I heard it was about money, and then I heard he got hurt, so I don’t know what excuse he’s going to use to get out of it. If he doesn’t want to fight me, he doesn’t want to fight me.” reported Wednesday that Johnson would fight Matt Brown instead at the June 20 event. Johnson shrugged off Howard’s decision to withdraw from their showdown and reaffirmed his willingness to meet the Boston native inside the Octagon at a later date.

“Him backing out didn’t affect me at all,” Johnson said. “Everybody knows me. I’ll take a fight on short notice. I don’t need any preparation time to get mentally ready. I’ll beat him up -- a day’s notice or a month’s notice or even a year’s notice.”

Johnson, a Georgia native who wrestled collegiately, has aligned himself with Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le in San Jose, Calif. Meanwhile, Strikeforce lightweight titleholder and UFC veteran Josh Thomson has also taken an interest in Johnson’s progression from prospect to contender.

Many view the 25-year-old as a champion in waiting. Just nine fights into his professional career, he has wowed crowds with raw athleticism and knockout power in his hands and feet. Johnson has delivered all four of his wins inside the UFC by KO or technical knockout. American Top Team’s Luigi Fioravanti became his latest victim when he succumbed to strikes at UFC Fight Night 17 in February.

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