"Everybody asking me who I want to fight next and there is nobody to call out because everybody in the weight class is so good. I'm like everybody else. I'm going for the champ. I'm trying to get that strap. I just want to keep performing and give the fans what they want and since I moved to 205, it's just been beautiful," stated UFC light heavyweight contender Anthonhy Johnson, who talked about his recent 44-second knockout of Rogerio Nogueira at UFC on Fox 12, his future plans, and more. Check it out!
PC: Your last fight didn't last very long, but I'm sure preparation was tough. How was preparation?
AJ: Preparation was good, man. No injuries, I stayed healthy the whole camp and my lil' dudes helped me out for this camp. That's the crazy part about it. It wasn't even my big boys. My big boys helped me, but the majority of them had fights 4 weeks before my fight. They were halfway through camp when I was just starting mine. It was cool, it was fun, and it was challenging because I had to use my really young bulls to help me out. It just shows what happens when you mix it up. You can't just train with the big dogs; you gotta go with the young bulls too.
PC: I'm sure you didn't expect Nogueira to come out and pull guard, but were you surprised that he took a boxing stance and looked to want to mix it up with you?
AJ: Not really because those Nogueira boys will definitely try to throw some leather with you. Plus his boxing trainer said his boxing was better than mine, so ya boy wanted to see what he had.
PC: You are definitely putting fear in a lot of these light heavyweights. Do you fear not being able to get fights?
AJ: Yeah man. Everybody asking me who I want to fight next and there is nobody to call out because everybody in the weight class is so good. I'm like everybody else. I'm going for the champ. I'm trying to get that strap. I just want to keep performing and give the fans what they want and since I moved to 205, it's just been beautiful.
PC: You talked a little bit after the fight about maturing in and out of the cage. How did that maturity help you in your return to the Octagon?
AJ: Taking off for 2 years, it really helped me out a lot. My coaches put a lot of time into me. I really had to sit down and change some stuff in my life outside of the cage. I just had to make a few adjustments and everything has been looking good so far.
PC: It all started with a straight right hand and then the uppercuts finished him. When he started to retreat, I sensed the end was near. Did you feel the same way?
AJ: I didn't even remember the first punch that landed. I swear I don't remember what had him backpedaling. I knew I hit him, but I don't remember what I hit him with. It was a natural reaction because when he went against the cage, I saw that he was wobbled a little bit and that's the part I remember. I remember him being wobbled on the cage and he stood right up and I just started throwing hailmarys. I saw that he had his guard up to where he was protecting his face and not his chin. I saw it and I took the opportunity. But I saw I couldn't just keep throwing uppercuts because he would adjust to it, so I just started throwing punches from different angles.
PC: Do you think you are one of...I won't even say one of. Do you think you are the best finisher at 205 because when you see blood, you go for the kill?
AJ: I think I am. Now that you say that, I do think I'm one of the one guys to where if I hurt you, I'm gonna do my best to finish you. Don't show any type of weakness when you fight me because I'm gonna see it and when I see it, I'm gonna jump on it. And that's not me being cocky; I just know myself.
PC: Obviously you gotta wait out a few things to see what your future holds for you, but is the mentality to stay as busy as possible or are you starting to eyeball the Cormier/Jones winner?
AJ: As long as I stay busy, I'm happy. A "Rumble" that ain't busy is a pretty miserable "Rumble." I like collecting checks (laughing), so I'm gonna keep fighting, man. Hopefully this year, I fight two more times. I'm gonna do what I can, man. This career in MMA is pretty short and I wanna make the best of it.
PC: You were a very strong 170-pounder and you seem to be even stronger at 205. Do you feel this is the strongest you have ever been in your career, even though you're not rehydrating up so much heavier than your opponents?
AJ: Yeah! I still lose about 25 pounds whenever I'm sucking down to 205. I drop from 230 to 205. It's tough, you know what I'm saying, but its not like it was when I was making 170. When I was fighting at 170, I was cutting off an arm and a leg. To make 205, I can handle my business better. Making 205 is like night and day from when I was making 170.
PC: So you don't have any picks; just whoever they put in front of you?
AJ: Like I always say, there is enough food for everybody out here. What's the point in calling each other out. I can understand you want a challenge and stuff, but you are gonna get it. A lot of these dudes wanna rush the opportunity and that's where they mess up. I learned not to rush things and that's how I fight. I learned I stay calm and when I get an opportunity, I take it when it's given to me. I don't try to rush it. I just let it happen. I wait on it. So I'm just waiting on that call and be ready whenever they give it to me.
PC: That was a spectacular performance. I always look forward to your fights and I wish you the best moving forward. Is there anything else you want to say before I let you go?
AJ: Nah man, I just want to say thank you to everybody. And I want to thank you too. You've been my dude since day one. I appreciate the support and fans, family, and friends, I want to thank everybody.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]