Following his second loss to Daniel Cormier with the UFC light-heavyweight championship on the line, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson called it a career after the UFC 210 event at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York Saturday night.
Johnson confirmed in a post-fight press conference that he planned to retire from the UFC and mixed martial arts competition whether he won the title or not.
“It’s just business,” Johnson said. “I want to do something besides going to the gym every day punching, kicking and rolling around with another dude. The (stuff) gets old. I’ve been doing this for so long. I’ve been in sports since I was eight.
“It’s just time to move onto something different. I won’t say better, but it’s just different.”
Over the weekend, reports began to surface that Johnson was leaving the UFC to pursue a career with the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League, but he quickly extinguished those rumors.
“No, I am not about to play football for the Rams,” Johnson said. “Why would I go into another sport that is the same stuff as this and you take all this impact? That’s absolutely insane.”
To earn the title shot, Johnson lived up to his nickname and knocked out Glover Teixeira in just 13 seconds in the co-main event of UFC 202 back in August.
Johnson came out like a man who wanted a rematch and landed a right-handed punch to Teixeira’s face, which floored the No. 2 ranked contender in the division and followed up with a pair of right-handed hammer fists before the referee called a stop to the contest.
Riding a three-fight winning streak and having won 12 of his last 13 bouts dating back to May of 2012, Johnson felt like things were going in a positive direction, but success at the ultimate level evaded him when the 33-year old native of Dublin, Georgia, again suffered a submission loss to Cormier.
“I felt great,” Johnson said. “I trained my butt off to fight Daniel. You still saw Rumble out there trying to knock heads off, going out there and give it his all. I went out there and did my thing. Whatever happened was going to happen, so I wasn’t worried about anything. I just went out there and did my best.”
Johnson proved graceful in defeat, speaking positively of Cormier’s skills in the ring, thanking the media for their coverage of MMA and describing what it meant to make the walk to The Octagon one final time.
“I was just soaking it all in, but no matter what, I was going to go out there and do my best,” Johnson said. “I hadn’t checked out or anything, but I knew what I needed to do regardless. I’m an athlete. I’ve always been an athlete, so I wanted to go out on top. It’s been a fun ride. Honestly, it leaves you kind of speechless.”