It’s been a full year since we saw Anthony “Rumble” Johnson resume his mixed martial arts (MMA) career as part of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Unfortunately for one of the sport’s all-time feared strikers, he’d soon after have to put things on ice once more.
Johnson made his promotional debut in May 2021 opposite Jose Augusto. Originally scheduled to be Yoel Romero, “The Soldier of God” wasn’t cleared to compete, leading to Johnson and Augusto putting on one of the best showcases of the year.
Scoring a comeback knockout victory in round two (watch highlights), Johnson advanced to set up a title opportunity against champion Vadim Nemkov. An undisclosed illness then reared its head for the 38-year-old and there was no telling whether or not Johnson would be able to compete again.
As of Wednesday (May 11, 2022), that has changed.
“1st DAY BACK [rocket and trending upward emoji],” Johnson posted on Instagram. “If you knew the path I’m on you’d understand this is a big step. When I’m back you’ll see a different, more dangerous version of what you’ve already seen. @drcpeacock [flex emoji] always has me ready when a battle is announced. Nothing to announce yet but hopefully before the yr is over I’ll get the green light. Shout out to my sponsor @reignbodyfuel [fist and flex emoji] for the fit. #RumbleSquad #Reignbodyfuel”
“Rumble” retired from MMA in the Octagon after his second defeat to Daniel Cormier at UFC 210 in Apr. 2017. During his time at Light Heavyweight in UFC, Johnson’s only losses came against Cormier in title fights, both occasions seeing him submitted via second-round rear-naked choke.
At present, the Grand Prix has been extended for at least one more fight as the finals bout between Nemkov and Corey Anderson last month (April 15, 2022) ended in a no-contest after an accidental headbutt (watch highlights). A rematch is expected before the year’s end.