Former two-time UFC light heavyweight title challenger, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson debuts at Bellator 258 on May 7th. against former UFC middleweight title chaser, Yoel ‘Soldier of God’ Romero in the promotion’s light heavyweight Grand Prix quarter final — and according to Johnson, Romero presents the most dangerous opponent he’s ever faced in his professional career to date.
Clashing in the first round of the promotion’s Grand Prix tournament, the two heavy-hitting knockout artists make their first walks under the Scott Coker-led Bellator banner, having parted ways with the UFC.
Johnson, who has yet to compete professionally since UFC 210 back in April of 2017, suffered a second round rematch rear-naked choke defeat to Daniel Cormier in his bid to become the promotion’s undisputed light heavyweight champion. After the fight, Johnson announced his intentions to retire from professional mixed martial arts with immediate effect.
Linked with an Octagon return last year after his re-entry to the USADA testing pool, reports emerged in December that Johnson had parted ways with the UFC, before penning a multi-fight deal with Bellator.
For Pinar del Rio favourite, Romero, the veteran multiple-time title challenger dropped a forgettable middleweight title tilt against Israel Adesanya back in March of last year at UFC 248, in what ultimately came as his last appearance under the promotion’s banner.
Romero was booked to feature at UFC Vegas 7 in August against recent UFC 261 feature, Uriah Hall, however, the bout was ultimately shelved after Romero withdrew from the bout with reasons undisclosed. In December, Romero parted ways with the UFC before penning a multi-fight deal with the above-mentioned, Coker’s outfit, linking back up with the promoter following a one-fight appearance under the now-defunct Strikeforce organization back in September of 2011.
Speaking ahead of the May 7th. showdown with Romero, Johnson admitted that Romero is the most dangerous opponent he’s faced yet in his professional career.
“Besides some of my training partners, yeah, I give Yoel (Romero) that title,” Johnson explained to MMA Fighting. “That I can think of right now, Yoel is the most dangerous fighter I’ve actually faced, I think.“
Combined, Johnson and Romero hold an astounding twenty-seven knockout wins, with sixteen for the fomrer, and eleven for the latter.
Johnson has maintained that despite the fact the winner of the May 7th. bracket with challenge defending champion, Vadim Nemkov next, the Georgia native has claimed that he’s absolutely focused on getting by Romero first.
“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” Johnson said. “I’m focused on Yoel. If I look past him one time, I’m done. I can’t look past him. I haven’t thought about Corey (Anderson), I haven’t thought about (Ryan) Bade, I haven’t thought about (Vadim) Nemkov. I’ve thought about Yoel.“
“That’s the only human being that’s been on my mind for (what) feels like forever. Mad props to those guys making it to the semis (semi finals) but they’re not my focus. My focus is Yoel. I’ve got to get past that monster before I can face the other monsters.“
Johnson and Romero will take co-main event status at the Mohegan Sun Arena card, with a bantamweight title fight between Juan Archuleta and Sergio Pettis slated to headline the event.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
#mma #combatsportsnews #BRAVECF #ufc #muaythai #boxing #kickboxing #prowrestling #bareknucklefighting