‘Rumble’ has signed a contract with Bellator and will be expected to make his first appearance in 2021.
While it remains unclear whether Anthony Johnson will fight at heavyweight or light heavyweight, the MMA community would love to see the powerhouse shutting the lights on his opponents as he has done on 16 previous occasions.
Johnson possesses superhuman power which has been too much for many of his opponents and as we wait eagerly for his return, let us revisit some of his brutal performances.
Anthony Johnson’s top 5 knockout victims
#5. Charlie Brenneman
In hindsight, Johnson was always going to be too much to handle for Brenneman.
At UFC on Versus 6, both fighters came in on a two-fight winning streak.
It was 2011, and Anthony Johnson was still cutting excessive weight to fight at 170-pounds. Brenneman, who would later fight in the lightweight division, looked visibly smaller.
As the fight started, the barrage of punches from Johnson was too much for Brenneman. After taking some heavy shots, Brenneman went for a takedown which was easily stopped by ‘Rumble’.
As Brenneman groggily got up clutching the octagon for support, Johnson landed a brutal left kick on his face.
Brenneman was knocked out before he touched the floor.
#4. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
‘Rumble’ started his second stint with the UFC in 2014.
Now fighting at light heavyweight, looking healthier and sharper, Johnson had defeated the much-touted Phil Davis in his previous fight.
‘Little Nog’, however, was an accomplished boxer and a legend in his own right. He was facing Johnson after wins over Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans, and his world-class boxing was going to be a perfect foil for Rumble’s power.
Or so it would seem.
Right from the start of the fight, ‘Rumble’ rushed the veteran and backed him into the octagon. He then started hitting Antonio with brutal shots.
He landed two clean, crisp, and powerful uppercuts that almost folded his foe. A third uppercut was enough for the referee and the fight was over.
‘Rumble’ needed only 44 seconds for the finish.
#3. Chad Reiner
Back in 2007, Anthony Johnson was a 23-year-old welterweight prospect trying to make an impact in the star-studded 170-pound division.
It was his fourth professional fight and his UFC debut.
Reiner was a 15-fight veteran and was expected to run through ‘Rumble’.
Reiner started with a barrage of strikes, some of which landed flush, however, ‘Rumble’ seemed unfazed and hit Reiner with devastatingly powerful punches which were too much for the veteran.
The fight lasted 13 seconds, showcasing both Anthony Johnson’s power and his ability to withstand shots. ‘Rumble’ had arrived on the scene.
#2. Ryan Bader
Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader headlined the UFC on Fox 18 PPV in January 2016.
Bader was on a five-fight win streak, and while all his wins were via decision, he had shown attrition and heart in the face of adversity, especially in his fights against Phil Davis and Ovince St. Preux.
The build-up to the fight revealed that many had the expectation that Bader would use his wrestling to ground ‘Rumble’ and take his power out of the equation. Plus, Bader could take punches as well.
Anthony Johnson was still reeling from his UFC 187 loss against Daniel Cormier when he finished Jimi Manuwa at UFC 191 four months earlier.
Johnson was at his pulverizing and powerful best in the bout.
Stuffing a takedown from Bader and then transitioning to take the top position, he used his brute strength to defend a kimura attempt before moving Bader to the octagon and landing brutal ground and pound.
The strikes went unanswered and the fight was called off at 1:26 in the first round.
#1. Glover Texeira
13 seconds and 1 tooth.
No, that is not a title of a neo-noir movie but rather the summary of the bout between Glover Texeira and Anthony Johnson at UFC 202.
Both fighters were stepping in the octagon on the backs of brutal KO’s, Johnson of Bader and Texeira of Rashad Evans.
Anthony Johnson ended the fight with a brutal uppercut with the first punch landed in the fight.
As Texeira went down, one of his teeth went flying out of the Octagon.
Anthony Johnson again displayed his immaculate power in the bout, which is now embedded in the lore of mixed martial arts.