Anthony Johnson‘s UFC retirement may not last long, and his time competing in the light heavyweight division is probably over as well.
Johnson is discussing a return to the UFC, manager Ali Abdel-Aziz told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani during an appearance on “The MMA Hour” Monday. However, Johnson would re-emerge as a heavyweight, if he’s to return to the Octagon. Abdel-Aziz and his client will be meeting with Dana White to discuss this soon, the manager said during the interview.
“He’ll come back as a heavyweight,” Abdel-Aziz said. “We want him to come back as a heavyweight.”
Competing in the company’s 205-pound division for three years, Johnson made a surprising retirement announcement in April after a loss to UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 210. The 33-year-old Johnson would be making a rather remarkable rise, having previously competed at welterweight (170 pounds) and middleweight (185) in his UFC run.
Johnson’s return may likely take some time. A fighter must be in the UFC’s USADA-operated drug-testing program for six months before competing, so a fight would not be able to occur until probably the second half of next year. Johnson said as recently as July he was not considering a comeback, having intended to enter the marijuana business full-time, but he’s evidently going to look a bit different because of the bulk-up routine that’s set to commence.
Johnson (22-6) fought twice for the light heavyweight title, but Cormier defeated him each time. A comeback would take Johnson in a different route, where a different challenge and new potential rivalries could await.