Anthony Johnson didn’t earn his “Rumble” nickname by always relying on his excellent wrestling skills.
This Saturday night, Johnson (9-3) will meet Charlie Brenneman (14-2) on UFC on Versus 6 from Washington, D.C. The fight will be part of the main card, televised by the Versus Network.
Johnson, who owns six career knockout victories, is coming off a controlling decision win over Dan Hardy that put him back on track after a year spent on the sidelines due to knee surgery. The former NJCAA wrestling champion is now looking to move himself into position to contend in the UFC’s welterweight division.
“I don’t really think about where this fight puts me, I just try and fight to keep it moving until my time comes,” Johnson said. “For the longest, I’ve been looking to see my name up there in the Top-10, and I can’t complain that I’m not in it because I still haven’t paid my dues and I haven’t done what I need to do to be noticed as a Top-10 fighter. So, we’ll see what’s next for me after this fight, but my goal is to win and keep going forward.”
Johnson rebounded from a loss to Josh Koscheck to defeat Hardy, a one-time challenger of current UFC champion Georges St-Pierre. Using his power and wrestling, “Rumble” kept “The Outlaw” from being able to unleash his deadly hands, something many fans were upset about.
“The true fans and true MMA analysts that understand fighting and know MMA, it shocked them, but they also respected what I did,” Johnson said. “I pretty much knew what I was gonna do. I just wanted to mess with him a little bit because I knew he was really wanting somebody to stand and bang with him. But why would I take a 50-50 chance? Even though I know I’m a better striker than him – nothing against his striking or anything – why take a chance of getting caught when I know I’m better than him on the ground?”
Johnson won’t have that same advantage against Brenneman, as Brenneman was a four-year wrestler for Lock Haven University. Johnson still feels like the two grapplers may try to find out which one is better on the ground, though, during the bout.
UFC on Versus 6 features a main event pitting UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz against Demetrious Johnson.