It’s the holiday season, and with the new year quickly approaching, Combat Press is taking a look back at the best of 2014. Throughout the week, Combat Press will announce its award winners in 16 different categories, covering everything from the action in the cage to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
The “Rumble” is back.
The first thing people used to think of when they heard the name Anthony “Rumble” Johnson was missing weight. Johnson missed weight four times between 2007 and 2012, and more often than not, it wasn’t even close.
This led to his first stint with the UFC being terminated after his fight against Vitor Belfort at UFC 142, where he tipped the scales 11 pounds overweight. This all occurred while Rumble was competing at welterweight and middleweight, however, and now that Johnson is where he should be, at 205 pounds, he looks stronger than ever.
Johnson started his 2014 campaign with the World Series of Fighting and knocked out Mike Kyle in the first round. With Johnson’s success and entry into a more appropriate weight division that put his weight issues to rest, he signed a contract to return to the UFC. Johnson’s first fight back with the UFC took place in April at UFC 172, where he picked apart Phil Davis for a unanimous decision victory. That was followed up by a stunning 44-second knockout of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in July that earned him “Performance of the Night” honors. Overall, Johnson has rattled off eight consecutive wins.
Rumble has always displayed the ability to overmatch his opponents with the strength he possesses. He’s shot up the UFC rankings and currently resides in the No. 3 spot. A win over Alexander Gustafsson in late January should put him in line to face the winner of Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. At this time next year, we could very well be writing a similar piece for Johnson as the Fighter of the Year.
Congratulations to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, the Combat Press selection for 2014 Comeback Fighter of the Year. He has made significant strides in both his physical and mental approach to the sport and now has the opportunity to show the world he can tap the potential that many believed he had all along. It’ll be exciting to see how successful Johnson can be in 2015.
Other Finalists: Robbie Lawler, Neil Magny
Make sure you check out the rest of the Combat Press 2014 MMA Award winners.