Rumble Will Only Return For Jones at Heavyweight
By Ross Markey
Since his shock retirement from mixed-martial arts in 2017, speculation has been rife from that very night in Buffalo as to firstly, if his retirement was legit and also, when he would possibly return.
The announcement came as a massive surprise at UFC 210 and despite losing to Daniel Cormier that night, Johnson was arguably in the prime of his career and seven fights into his second Octagon stint. Occupying the #1 spot at light heavyweight heading into the championship clash with Cormier, Johnson had blazed through the entire 205lbs division with vicious knockouts a plenty.
‘Rumble’ has fueled the fire surrounding a potential return in a recent interview on the Into The Weeds podcast, entertaining the idea of a rebirth at heavyweight if one time scheduled opponent Jon Jones follows suit and moves up a weight class. It’s an incredible proposition considering Johnson fought at welterweight earlier in his career.
“The only way I’d come out of retirement is if Jon Jones goes to heavyweight, and that’s when I’ll come out of retirement and fight Jon. I mean, that’s the only guy I want to fight. Because after him, I can officially say I’ve done my job, my mission is complete. Although I didn’t win a title, I fought the best of the best.”
Of course, Johnson’s premier title tilt was scheduled to take place against Jon all the way back at UFC 187. Jones was embroiled with trouble outside the sport heading into the bout, namely a hit and run incident involving a pregnant women and was subsequently stripped of the championship.
Fellow contender Daniel Cormier stepped in as the vacant title was up for grabs and despite rocking the Olympian early in the opening round, Johnson was submitted via rear-naked choke in the third round. ‘DC’ and ‘Rumble’ would eventually run it back in 2017, with the rematch playing out in ridiculously similar circumstances. Johnson nearly scored the victory with a head kick early again, before Cormier once more took his back in the second round and forced the tap.
Johnson, who has since ventured down the CBD and medical marijuana trail with the company Farm Med has told how he is yet to actively train in MMA since that UFC 210 loss, but there is simply no discussion regarding his danger to the heavyweight division.
‘Rumble’ has put away the likes of Alexander Gustafsson, current Bellator ‘champ champ’ Ryan Bader, Jimi Manuwa. Antonio Rogério Nogueira and most terrifyingly, Glover Teixeira as he removed the Brazilian from his senses in just thirteen seconds. In his one and only Heavyweight clash to date, Johnson broke Andrei Arlovski’s jaw in the opening round before claiming a decision victory.