If this is what Anthony Johnson is going to look like when he doesn't have to go on a huge weight cut, then the UFC has itself a new light heavyweight contender.
Johnson put on an eye-opening show at UFC 172, as he dominated every aspect of his fight with Phil Davis on Saturday night. Johnson dominated the former NCAA wrestling champion for 15 minutes en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Johnson was infamously cut after his first UFC run after missing weights on multiple occasions at both welterweight and middleweight. He went 6-0 outside the UFC before getting his second chance.
But fighting at 205 pounds, Johnson never showed the fatigue issues from weight cuts which slowed down his previous efforts. Johnson battered Davis with vicious strikes, from his heavy hands to his high kicks.
Most surprisingly, he effortlessly parried Davis' takedown attempts, one after another, to the point that Davis appeared to have no Plan B in his arsenal. Johnson stuffed all eight of his takedown attempts in the fight.
Davis looked for openings into the final horn, but could never figure out a way to crack his armor.
"Its been a long road coming, I've matured so much," said Johnson. "Since I've been gone, I've worked so hard."
Johnson went so far as to thank UFC president Dana White for cutting him, saying it caused his turnaround.
"Mr. Dana White, thank you for what you did," said Johnson. "He's the man who changed me, turned me into a beast."