Anthony Johnson considering UFC return as heavyweight

Anthony Johnson celebrates his victory over Glover Teixeira in their light heavyweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 202 on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Las Vegas. Johnson won by knockout in the first round. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
(AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

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.

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