For once, it's not about cutting weight.
Eleven-time UFC veteran Anthony Johnson (11-4) returns to action in the headlining bout of next week's Titan Fighting Championship 24 event, and after years of telling the world his hulking frame was best suited for 170 pounds, "Rumble" is facing Esteves Jones (8-3) in a light-heavyweight bout. Johnson said the change is far-reaching, and he's currently enjoying the benefits of his decision.
"I think I'm where I'm supposed to be at right now," Johnson told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
Johnson's well-publicized battle with making weight dates back to 2007 when he missed the 171-pound limit for a UFC 76 bout with Rich Clementi. He was then heavy for a 2009 welterweight bout with Yoshiyuki Yoshida. The last straw for UFC officials was Johnson's January fight with Vitor Belfort and "Rumble's" inability to hit the mark in a middleweight fight.
After a loss to Belfort, Johnson was released from the promotion. Despite the move, Johnson said he holds no ill will toward the sport's largest promotion.
"I understand what they did," Johnson said. "I understand why they did what they had to do. I don't have anything against them. The person I have something against is just myself because I let down everybody else, including myself. I let down my family and the people supporting me. No one wants to let down their family."
Johnson returned to action this past May, when he earned a decision win over fellow UFC veteran Dave Branch. Yet there was controversy once again, as Johnson was unable to make the weight limit, and the fight was contested as a 195-pound catchweight contest.
The result led some MMA pundits to question whether Johnson's mindset was the issue rather than his body. Did Johnson have a psychological need to be bigger than his opponent?
For his part, the 28-year-old doesn't believe that was ever the case.
"For me, size means nothing," Johnson said. "It was just about how I was feeling. I felt like I would do great at that weight class, whatever weight class I was fighting at. It wasn't about the weight class. It was just what I thought would be best for me.
"I didn't care if I was bigger than everybody at 170 pounds or bigger than anybody at 185. I just wanted to compete, and I just felt like I could do good wherever I went."