Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is back in the Octagon, and the Rumble is for real.
After several years of torturing himself in trying to get down as low as welterweight, Johnson has since come to his senses and become a force at light heavyweight.
He lost to Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 in early 2012, was ousted from the promotion for missing weight on too many occasions, and then reinvented himself at 205 pounds. It has been a highly successful move for Johnson, who has revived a once promising career.
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He added to the revival on Saturday night by taking Nogueira, one of the most highly regarded light heavyweights in the UFC, in just 44 seconds.
Johnson took a few moments to acclimate himself, then rocked Nogueira with the first punch of the fight. He didn’t stop, realizing that he’d tagged the veteran, and followed up with a brutal series of punches that included several uppercuts.
“I just kept thinking, I gotta hurt this guy really bad or put him away because he’s a Nogueira and they don’t stop,” said Johnson after the fight.
But like several other fighters before him, Nogueira couldn’t handle the power that Johnson unleashed. He had no choice but to stop, as he crumpled to the mat under the fury of Johnson’s fists.
It was a scary dismantling of one of the top 205-pound fighters in the world, framing Johnson as one of the most intimidating fighters in the division.
“Hopefully, I keep putting fear in everybody’s heart,” Johnson said after the fifth knockout in his last eight bouts.