UFC Reinstates Anthony Johnson
The UFC reinstated light heavyweight contender Anthony Johnson after a civil protection case filed against him was dropped in a Florida court last week.
History of Domestic Violence
Last September 19, the UFC suspended Johnson (aka “Rumble”) indefinitely when a woman, who claimed to be the mother of two of his children, alleged that she received threats via text from Johnson and that she was subjected to physical abuse by Rumble in 2012. She later filed a civil protection order against Johnson which prompted the promotion to suspend the #5 ranked UFC light heavyweight.
Johnson had already been arrested in the past for domestic violence. In 2009, he was arrested after a different woman charged him with “domestic violence, battery, death threats and destroying a phone to prevent the report of a crime.” Johnson served a three year probation, did community service and attended anti-violence counseling in 2010 after he pleaded “no-contest” to that charge.
At the Peak of His Game
Johnson’s personal woes came at the point when he was at the peak of his game. After his first UFC stint ended in his release after missing weight in three fights, Rumble found his niche in the light heavyweight division in 2014. Johnson has been on an eight fight winning streak since his release from the UFC in 2012, including two straight wins in his 2014 UFC return. He beat Phil Davis decisively at UFC 172 and then knocked out Antonio Roegerio “Little Nog” last July 26th.
Johnson was already being groomed to fight #1 contender Alexander Gustaffson for a possible shot at Jon Jones in 2015 when he was suspended by the UFC.
Let’s Get Ready For Rumble
With the charges already dropped, the UFC said in a statement that they will immediately book Johnson to a fight early next year, although it was unclear if the bout against Gustaffson was still on top of its mind. Johnson had been calling out Gustaffson after the Swedish Mauler recovered from the injury that cost him his rematch against Jon Jones. At first, Gustaffson ignored Johnson and hoped to be reinstated to the title bout at UFC 182 which was already awarded to Daniel Cormier. But when the UFC guaranteed him a title shot for stepping aside at UFC 182, Gustaffson took on Johnson’s challenge and told Rumble that he can’t wait to show him (Johnson) “the real battlefield”.
A potential Gustaffson-Johnson bout should be a big one in 2015 as both men clearly deserve a shot at the title. Gus and Rumble are two of the most destructive forces in the 205 division, and with title implications, this match-up has all the makings of a classic war.
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