Anthony “Rumble” Johnson knew he made himself a bigger star and the undisputed light-heavyweight no. 1 contender with his KO for the ages over Glover Teixeira at UFC 202. He restated his desire to be part of the historic UFC debut in New York City at Madison Square Garden on November 12.
“I wanna be a part of history in Madison Square Garden,” he said, in the context of challenging Daniel Cormier for his title. “All the greats have fought there and I wanna be part of history.”
Cormier was ringside last night and smiled and stood up and welcomed the challenge from Johnson. When he was booed, Johnson told the fans not to boo him and said he was a great champion – who he planned to knock out and take the belt from, that’s all.
If Jon Jones isn’t suspended, it could mean Johnson’s title shot will come later, as UFC could instead match Jones against Cormier at MSG. That is only if Jones received no suspension, which is unlikely. It appears a six month suspension is more likely than two years, so Jones could come back, perhaps be put in a no. 1 contenders fight against the loser of Cormier vs. Johnson (or another top five contender), and then get the champ next.
As far as the cloud of Jones hanging over the division, John said there’s no point in dwelling on him. “Daniel is beyond that, I’m beyond it,” he said. “As far as Jon, he can sit back and wait. Until he’s back, what’s the point of having a conversation about him?”
Cervantes Analysis: The UFC absolutely needs to move forward with the light heavyweight division and stop trying to give Jones every opportunity to come back until he actually proves he has matured and is ready to be accountable and take responsibility for his antics outside the Octagon. Johnson is deserving of a second shot and both he and Cormier have made it clear that they have no desire to allow Jones to cut in front of other fighters just to appease the UFC. It will be interesting to see how the UFC responds to this.