Anthony Johnson is just 27 years old, but the man known as “Rumble” has already experienced a very shaky stint in the UFC.
At 6-3 in the UFC, and coming off a victory over Dan Hardy, Johnson steps back inside the Octagon Saturday night to face Charlie Brenneman at UFC on Versus 6. For a fighter once considered the future of the division, this is a crucial time in his career.
That’s why Johnson made the change to start training at Imperial Athletics in Florida instead of American Kickboxing Academy in preparation for his bout with Brenneman. The change provided a spark to his desire to become a more well-rounded fighter.
“At one point, I can’t lie, I couldn’t stand jiu-jitsu,” said Johnson, in a recent interview for Yahoo! Sports’ Cagewriter blog. “I did it, but if you don’t have a passion for something, you’re not going to be good at it. Now my passion for jiu-jitsu is picking up, so now my jiu-jitsu game is improving a lot. It’s all about if you want to be good or if you don’t. If you want to be an average fighter or an average person in life, that’s what you’re going to be. I don’t want to be labeled as a one-dimensional fighter.”
Among those working with Johnson are current UFC light heavyweight No. 1 contender and former champion Rashad Evans, The Ultimate Fighter alum Michael Johnson and Jorge Santiago.
In Brenneman, Johnson knows he will be facing a fellow wrestler that is also looking to move his way up the welterweight ladder. Brenneman (14-2) defeated Rick Story in his last fight and has won nine of his previous 10.
“Charlie has a good chin, a good style of fighting. I actually really like his style; he has a nice little swagger when it comes down to fighting, and he puts it together really well,” Johnson said. “I don’t have any doubts in Charlie at all. I think he can do anything he wants to do, but when he’s fighting somebody like me, it’s going to be a lot tougher.”
FightLine.com will have all the latest news leading up to UFC on Versus 6, along with complete coverage of all the fights.