Fabio Maldonado eyes return against Anthony Johnson

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Fabio Maldonado didn’t get the fight he was hoping for, so he has another option in mind.

Maldonado asked for a fight against Dan Henderson after they both won at UFC Fight Night 38 in Natal, Brazil, but "Hendo" got a bout with Daniel Cormier instead. Still waiting for a call to return to the cage, Maldonado wants to face off against Anthony Johnson.

"I want to fight Anthony Johnson. He would be a good fight with me," Maldonado told MMAFighting.com. "I would fight anyone in the UFC, but I’d rather fight Anthony Johnson. He has a good striking game and takedowns, but I don’t think he would be able to take me down. I want to fight a well-ranked fighter so, so I beat him and take his spot in the rankings."

Johnson recently returned to the UFC, after going 6-0 in other promotions, with a unanimous decision over Phil Davis. Maldonado didn’t expect him to beat Davis at UFC 172, but feels his style is a threat to "Rumble."

"I thought Phil Davis would win the fight, but I was wrong," he said. "He has a good striking game, he’s well-rounded. He has good takedowns, but maybe he doesn’t have a good cardio to take the fight down and keep it there."

"I think he’s a good match-up for me, and I think I would beat him," he continued. "If he gasses in other fights, he would gas faster against me. I have some good body shots."

Maldonado, who bounced back from a losing skid with three straight victories, hopes to score more knockouts in the UFC.

"It was lack of confidence," Maldonado said of the lack of finishes in his last appearances. "I was coming off three losses, and the last one against Glover (Teixeira) was pretty rough. I was just trying to win and keep my job, that’s how I entered my last fights. But it’s time now."

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