UFC welterweight Anthony Johnson supremely trolled his most recent opponent Dan Hardy as well as the rest of the MMA world by promising to do nothing but “stand and bang” in all of his pre-fight promotional appearances.
What he did instead was repeatedly take Hardy down and establish dominant positions over the Brit, a strategy which he recently told MMAJunkie.com he picked up off of perennial heel Josh Koscheck.
“I knew what I was going to do,” Johnson said. “I learned that from Josh Koscheck. I took one of out of his book. He did the same thing with Paul Daley (at UFC 113). Daley fell for it. What did Koscheck do? He took him down every time.”
Despite an early head kick and a few submission attempts, Johnson seemed perfectly content to out-grapple Hardy to a win — because, after over a year long layoff, he was.
“It wasn’t my best performance, but as I said in my interviews, I just needed to win,” he said. “I could have stood and banged with him. No problem. But why would I stand and bang when I know his absolute weakness is takedown defense and being on his back? I don’t care what people think. … My performance wasn’t what I wanted it to be, but I’ll take it.”
Though clearly nothing is promised, should Johnson get the next fight he’s looking for — a legitimate and long-brewing grudge match against John “Doomsday” Howard — it’s hard to imagine there not being fireworks in the Octagon.
“I for sure want to fight Jon Howard,” Johnson said. “That’s the guy I want to fight the most. To me, I don’t think about his losses. I just think about what’s going doing between us. He’s a very tough guy. He’s a tough fighter for sure.”