The fight between Anthony Johnson and Mike Kyle will finally take place on Jan. 18 in Hollywood, Fla. The two were originally scheduled to fight at World Series of Fighting 5 on Sept. 14, 2013, but an injury forced Johnson out of the fight. It was rescheduled for Dec. 7, but Kyle had to withdraw due to a broken toe.
“It’s going to be exciting to get this fight over with. It seems like it’s been about a year. I had to pull out the first time and then Mike had to pull out the second time,” said Johnson on a recent media conference call. “We’re finally getting it done and both of us are healthy.”
Kyle has stated that he wants to push the pace and test Johnson’s conditioning, and Johnson welcomes the strategy.
“Mike is talented and has one of the best camps you can ever go to, AKA (American Kickboxing Academy). He says he wants to push my cardio, well, let’s push it,” said the 29-year-old fighter.
Johnson (15-4) only competed one time in 2013, defeating former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski by unanimous decision. He’d like to be more active in 2014, but there are no guarantees in combat sports.
“I definitely plan to stay active this year if I can stay injury free and not break my hand any more. But I’m going to definitely try to break my hand on Jan. 18,” he said. “As far as 2013, it wasn’t a bad year for me. Even though I couldn’t fight for various reasons I was still in the gym helping my teammates. I was satisfied with 2013.”
World Series of Fighting 8 features two title bouts. Justin Gaethje and Rich Patishnock will fight for the lightweight belt, while Jessica Aguilar and Alida Gray will compete for the women’s strawweight title. Kyle would have liked to see the fight with Johnson be a championship fight, but Johnson isn’t thinking about titles.
“Fighting for the title isn’t really on my mind right now. The first step is beating Mike Kyle and we’ll go from there,” said Johnson.
Moving forward, Johnson expects big things. If he defeats Kyle, he’ll receive a title shot in his next outing. He’s fought in four different weight classes, earned two Knockout of the Night awards and one Fight of the Night bonus while in the UFC, but doesn’t think he’s hit his prime just yet.
“I haven’t hit my prime yet. When I do hit my prime, you’ll know.”