Anthony “Rumble” Johnson made his official retirement from Mixed Martial Arts after his most recent defeat to the light-weight title holder Daniel Cormier. It is devastating for the UFC losing one of their most talented fighters in the peak of his career, but even worse off are the many fans that loved his personality and enjoyed the incredibly exciting fights he produced over the years. It is as good a point as ever to look over an incredible MMA career of the greatest knockout artist the UFC has ever seen.
He began his martial arts career in high school and was a powerful wrestler. His affinity for combat sports earned him a scholarship to college where he went on to become a junior national wrestling champion. After college he entered the realm of mixed martial arts whilst working as a bouncer. His UFC debut was on the 12th of June 2007, were he fought Chad Reiner in UFC fight night 10. The fight ended with Rumble getting a knockout at just 13 seconds into the first round. He competed at welter weight for 6 fights until he did serious damage to his knee forcing himself out of fighting for over a year. When he returned he didn’t believe he could compete at welter weight anymore and decided to step up to the middle weight division were he immediately fought a word class competitor in Vitor Belfort who was at the very top of the division. Rumble lost that match by submission and following the fight, was released by the UFC as he missed weight by 11 pounds.
In his time away from the UFC Rumble continued to fight competing in Titan Fighting Championships, The World Series of Fighting and other independent promotions. His success away from the UFC was noticed as he was signed on a 4 year contract on the 4th of February, 2014. But when he returned he decided to fight at light heavy weight, with his first fight being against top ranked light-heavy weight Phil Davis in the co-main event at UFC 172. Defying 3-1 odds, Rumble defeated Davis dominating all three rounds emphatically. He then gradually dismantled the top of the light-heavy weight division earning him a title fight against the champion Daniel Cormier on the 23rd of May, 2015. However this appeared a step too far for Rumble as he clearly wasn’t prepared for Cormier’s gritty style accompanied with a long 3 rounds. He lost that fight however that didn’t stop him. He went three fights in a row with either TKO or KO’s on some of the best light-heavy weights in the world, earning him three performance of the nights in a row. In my previous article I detailed the main event of UFC 210, with Rumble and DC clashing horns once again which I would recommend anyone reading this to read, but Rumble once again lost to the champ and announced his retirement effective immediately.
I haven’t been following MMA long enough to have seen him fight at welterweight, but looking back on some of his fights it is truly incredible to see the sheer power Rumble could get behind a punch. He has the most ‘sub minute’ KO’s in the UFC to date with 5 and I feel this accurately shows the talent he had. The most admirable thing about Rumble is his personality and how he is one of the nicest fighters in the UFC, never gloating, never trash talking, but simply enjoying the game. The game will miss him, but we wish him the best of luck in his future work and hope he doesn’t completely stay away from the sport.