Anthony “Rumble” Johnson makes his heavyweight debut in the main event of World Series of Fighting 2 against former UFC heavyweight titleholder Andrei Arlovski, and aside from the possibility of a rematch with Arlovski, it will likely be a one-time deal for Johnson competing in the heavyweight division.
Johnson, who has competed as low as welterweight (170 pounds), feels light heavyweight is the division best suited for him.
“Unless my man Ray Sefo and Ali (Abdel-Aziz) asks me to take another fight at heavyweight, this is probably my one and only fight at heavyweight right now. 205 is still where I want to be. It is still my home, so we’ll see,” said Johnson during a media conference call on Wednesday.
“For me and Andrei Arlovski, win, lose or draw, they might want to see a rematch and I might have to fight heavyweight again, so we’ll just see what happens,” he said.
Johnson has struggled to make weight in lower weight classes in the past and thinks not having to cut weight for this fight is a good thing.
“Each fight I get more and more comfortable with myself and the system of fighting that we have. Of course, not being able to cut weight is always a good thing, so it makes me happier. I train harder, and I’m more focused, so fighting heavyweight is sort of good, but when you’re fighting a guy like Andrei Arlovski, you have no choice but to be focused and make sure you do everything right,” said the Georgia native.
Putting on some extra weight hasn’t affected Johnson’s abilities or physical attributes.
“I’m like 235 right now. I don’t plan on getting heavier than that,” he said. “Everything is still there, the speed, the power. It is still there. I’m still an athlete. I don’t’ feel like I’m sacrificing anything except height. I believe Andrei is bigger than me, just a little bit heavier than me, but overall that’s it.”
Arlovski, known for his striking prowess, presents more than just a threat with his hands. Johnson isn’t concerned with anything Arlovski brings to the table, but he’s aware that he has to be on the lookout for everything.
“I’m never concerned with anything when it comes down to fighting,” said Johnson. “This is MMA. I have to be on the lookout for everything. There’s not one thing I have to look out for; I have to lookout for everything. I can’t just say, I have to watch his hands. No. This is mixed martial arts. I have to watch out for every single thing this man does.”
For a fighter, the biggest fight of your career is always the one that’s in front of you. Johnson is on a four-fight win streak and a win over Arlovski would certainly be a nice feather in his cap, but Johnson isn’t feeling any pressure heading into the match-up.
“I don’t feel pressure at all,” he said. “I don’t’ even get nervous before a fight or anything like that. I’m just calm and relaxed. It’s a fight. This is what we do and what we’re trained for so no point worrying about pressure or what anybody has to say. I just go out there and do my best.”
World Series of Fighting 2 takes place on Saturday at Ovation Hall at Revel in Atlantic City. The preliminary bouts will be streaming live on MMAWeekly.com. The main card will air live on NBC Sports Network in the U.S., but stream live on MMAWeekly.com across the rest of the globe.