Anthony Johnson is mentally weak and breakable. That's what Ryan Bader's coach Aaron Simpson believes.
Simpson, who had an 11-fight career with the UFC and now coaches at Power MMA, appeared on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour where he discussed Bader's upcoming fight against Johnson at this Saturday's UFC on Fox 18.
As a former assistant wrestling coach at Arizona State University, Simpson says Johnson's mental weakness was evident through out his junior college wrestling career and even Johnson's wrestling coaches informed him of it when Simpson was looking to recruit new wrestlers.
"It's just evident in his career, it's evident in his college career. I go back and his college coaches told me that when we were looking to recruit him. Once that's in you, once you've quit and you've done it, it's in you. It's hard to get past that. It's hard to be someone who when the going gets tough or you're on your back or you're on your knees and you're starting to get tired you can come back from that.
"I love Anthony Johnson. I do. I think he's a good guy and a great athlete and was a stud junior college wrestler, but that's about it. When it gets into the fight game and we take him to deep waters, we'll see how he responds and maybe he'll be something different, but he hasn't shown that in the past," Simpson said.
Bader defeated former UFC light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans in his last performance back at UFC 192 on Oct. 2015. That victory was Bader's fifth consecutive victory at light heavyweight and many fans thought that was enough to earn him a title shot. However, that wasn't the case.
'It was definitely disappointing that he got overlooked twice and that he's been disrespected twice, but that right there just puts more of a chip on his shoulder... Now, it's just one more step and hopefully is one more step," Simpson said. "We know how this business works, so all we can do is handle what we can handle and control what we can control. We love this fight with Anthony Johnson. This is a fight we would of liked a long time ago and now we're here.
Simpson predicts Bader will stop "Rumble" Saturday night and extend his win streak to six win a row.
"I feel like we're going to wear on him, you know. We're going to put him on the cage, we're going to take him down, we're going to land big strikes. If we don't knock him out early, he's going down in the third or fourth round. I don't see it going to distance. I think Ryan will finish it earlier than that, I really feel that way. I think 25 minutes is just too long for Anthony Johnson to go. I mean look at any of his fights even torwards the end when he wins these fights he starts getting a little more sloppy and tired. Even in the three rounders," said Simpson. "But again, it's a fight and anything can happen. I just feel real confident on Ryan."