UFC president Dana White recently mentioned that he had been talking to UFC matchmaker Joe Silva about the possibility of bringing Anthony “Rumble” Johnson back to the Octagon. Those talks apparently got serious quickly.
Having had trouble making weight both at welterweight and then at middleweight during his first UFC tenure, White on Tuesday announced that Johnson would return as a light heavyweight to face Phil Davis at UFC 172 on April 26 in Baltimore, Md.
Johnson (16-4) has been on a hot streak since he left the UFC in early 2012 following a loss to Vitor Belfort, a fight in which he missed making weight by 11 pounds. Since his Octagon exodus, he has won six consecutive bouts, the last three being under the World Series of Fighting banner.
Johnson has fought primarily at light heavyweight outside the UFC. At WSOF, he defeated Bellator veteran D.J. Linderman in a bout at 205 pounds, went up to heavyweight to beat former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski, and then returned to light heavyweight to knock out Strikeforce veteran Mike Kyle, punching his ticket back to the Octagon.
He’s being thrown immediately into the fire upon his return, however, taking on the UFC’s No. 4 ranked 205-pounder in Phil Davis.
Davis (12-1, 1 NC) is currently on a three-fight winning streak. His only loss has been to former UFC champion Rashad Evans.
He is coming off of a controversial unanimous decision victory over another former champ in Lyoto Machida. That was in August of 2013. Davis hasn’t fought since, due to a logjam at the top of the division.
Trying to put himself in a position to challenge current light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones, Davis first will have to crash Johnson’s welcome back party.
Jones will also be on the card, putting his belt on the line against Glover Teixeira in the UFC 172 main event at the Baltimore Arena.
(Photo courtesy of World Series of Fighting)