Anthony Johnson is not a man afraid of challenges.
Despite the fact that he’s spent his entire UFC career fighting as a welterweight, Johnson accepted the challenge of facing Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 Rio at 185 pounds, even though the fight just happened to be in Belfort’s home country of Brazil.
Sure, Johnson has a healthy amount of respect for Belfort. He’s a former UFC champion with a long history of devastating knockouts to his credit, but the way Johnson sees it, Belfort still has flaws in his game like any other fighter.
Belfort puts his pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else. To hold him up in some higher regard just isn’t Johnson’s style.
“I’m going to show him respect, but Vitor’s human. He’s no better than me,” Johnson told MMAWeekly Radio. “I don’t care who it is in front of me, I’m going to fight them no matter what and give it my all. I’m not thinking about his hand speed. I’m not worried about anything he can do. I’m just going to rely on my talents and make him worry about me. I’m not worried about Vitor.”
Over the last several months the way that Johnson has gotten ready for Belfort is to train with his new team at the Blackzilians in Florida. In the past, Johnson has bounced around to several different gyms and worked with a lot of different fighters, but now he believes he has a true home base and a family of teammates that make him a better competitor.
The end result could be the best Anthony Johnson anyone has seen.
“I’ll fight to the best of my abilities, but has anyone seen the best Anthony Johnson yet? I’d say no because I’m improving every single day with this team that I’ve got, the Blackzilians. These guys are pushing me, we’re training hard together, my coaches are by my side through thick and thin. Jan. 14, I’m going in there to do the best that I can do. As far as I can say, I’m going out there to dominate and not to play around,” said Johnson.
This being Johnson’s first fight at middlewight, there are of course questions about how he’ll show up at UFC 142 Rio. Will he be as fast? Will he be as explosive? Simply said, will he be as good?
Well, Johnson has a few secrets he’s going to let out of the bag in Brazil on Saturday night, and the surprise will be on Vitor Belfort.
“I’m going to do some Bruce Lee stuff. I’m going to show him some stuff he ain’t seen before. Some combinations he’s not used to. I know he’s got some good guys in his camp. They’re not me. They can’t do the things that I do. They don’t know what I’m going to do. They’re not training like me. They don’t move like me,” Johnson stated.
“He can bring in whoever he wants, I’m still going to smash his face in, that’s the first thing I’m going to try to do.”
One thing Johnson definitely has going into UFC 142 Rio is confidence. He faces Vitor Belfort in the co-main event in Brazil this Saturday night.