For the last two years, the most anticipated fight in the UFC light heavyweight division has been Jon Jones vs. Anthony Johnson. Unfortunately, that fight has yet to come to fruition, and with the recent USADA struggles of Jones, it looks like that fight it never will.
Yesterday, speaking with Brett Okamoto of ESPN, Johnson admitted that he has accepted that that fight will never happen now.
"It's just not gonna happen -- at this point, I know it's not gonna happen. It is what it is. I'm moving forward. Everybody is moving forward. I'm still shooting high and trying to do what I can in this sport. I'm not focused on Jon anymore. And I can tell you Daniel Cormier, Glover -- they're not focused on Jon, either. Nobody in this division is focused on Jon anymore. That's a fact."
Jones and Johnson were scheduled to face each other at UFC 187 for the light heavyweight championship. Then, about a month before the fight, Jones was involved in a hit-and-run accident and the UFC removed him from the fight card, stripped him of his title, and suspended him indefinitely. Daniel Cormier stepped up on short notice and fought Johnson for the vacant 205-pound belt, choking him out in the third round.
Johnson rebounded with dominant knockouts over Jimi Manuwa and Ryan Bader, and with Jones returning to face Cormier at 200 (a man he had already beaten once before) the general logic was that Jones would reclaim his belt and then his first title defense would be against "Rumble." Then, just three days before UFC 200, Jones was removed from the card for a failed drug test in the lead up to the event. Suddenly, everything was in jeopardy.
"When the UFC 200 stuff first happened, I was just in shock with everything. Maybe for a couple of days or a week or two, I was just extremely disappointed. I was like, 'Damn, this is just really not gonna happen.' I was looking forward to it just as much as anyone was. So, it does disappoint me."
It should disappoint him. Jones is one of the biggest stars in MMA and a fight between the two would be one of the biggest events of the year. Now, Jones is facing a potential two-year suspension for having estrogen blockers in his system and Johnson, who is 32, doesn't see himself fighting much longer.
"I ain't trying to fight until I'm 35. I'm trying to make my money and go on to something different -- do bigger and better things with my life. Hell, I don't want to get punched in the head that damn much. I've got other things I want to do."
This is MMA and fighters often continue fighting long after their target retirement ages so perhaps a Jones-Johnosn bout isn't all the way buried. But for now at least, Johnson has other things to deal with: he takes on Glover Teixeira in the co-main event of UFC 202. Should he win, Johnson will likely find him rematching Daniel Cormier for the light heavyweight title.
Perhaps UFC light heavyweight champion Anthony Johnson has a nice enough ring to it to make him want to wait for Jones to return.
Never cutting again. Conor McGregor is unsure if he will return to 145 after Diaz fight, envisions a trilogy with Diaz.
Association mode. With support of major sports names, a new group has formed to help UFC fighters to unionize.
Plea. Jon Jones takes a plea deal in drag-racing case, receives no jail time.
Pride Never Die. Mirko Cro Cop doubts Fedor Emelianenko will fight in the Rizin open-weight tournament.
If we're lucky. Kayla Harrison wins second straight Olympic gold medal in judo, may pursue MMA career.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Puncher's Path. Connor Ruebusch of Bloody Elbow continues to delve into Conor McGregor as a power puncher and whether his only way to beat Nate Diaz is to knock him out.
Were any of y'all around the sport to remember how crappy promos used to be? So glad they make stuff like this now. And I like the Bourdain touch.
Roy Jones weighs in on Amir Khan coming to MMA.
Chael on Conor.
Touch butt in the gym.
Ah Twitter. Facilitating fights since 2006.
@EllenbergerMMA let's dance in #nyc @ufc— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) August 1, 2016
@GamebredFighter @ufc I'm in!— Jake Ellenberger (@EllenbergerMMA) August 1, 2016
Tell @ufc to book it. I'm ready when you are October, November Christmas comes early https://t.co/ME49tQDIeB— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) August 11, 2016
Or not if you're Derrick Lewis I guess.
I'm just sitting here thinking about knocking that stupid smile off of Werdum face @ufc— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) August 11, 2016
— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) August 12, 2016
So I believe this is the Twitter for the new fighter association effort.
We are proud to announce that the Professional Fighters Association has officially launched;https://t.co/uPXbC8QZec pic.twitter.com/w0BC1gxe4S— Fighters Association (@FightersAssoc) August 11, 2016
I was watching old fight videos today and my son asked me. "Why do you look sad you win this fight" " well its a long story but do you remember coach wise" " yeah" " and do you remember when uncle coco and I used to train together and we had the same coach" "yeah" " well were are all those guys now. " " i don't know" neither do I All i know is all those people don't love me anymore. You know me and you were built special right." "Yes dad were faster were stronger we don't break we don't quit." Thats right I've used the special talents we were born with to buy all these things you love and all the toys you play with but the one thing I never really trained was my brain. You know your brain is a muscle right" " really?" "Yes thats why you have to be smarter then me. People are going to leave you, friends, girlfriends, family members and if you don't work out your brain you wont know what to do without there help." "Ill never leave you" " I know that and because ill never leave you i need to start using my brain. How did coco beat if he is not bigger, faster or stronger?" " he used his brain and he laid on you." Thats right so what is your brain telling you i should learn" " you should learn to get up and stop coco from laying on you" " Thats right little man"
Fabricio Werdum (20-6-1) vs. Travis Browne (18-4-1); UFC 203, September 10.
Alexa Grasso (8-0-0) vs. Heather Clark (7-5-0); UFC Mexico City, November 5.
Jason Gonzales (10-2-0) vs. Drew Dober (16-7-0, 1 NC); UFC 203, September 10.
Ev Ting (11-3-0) vs. Rob Lista (14-8-0); ONE Championship 47, September 2.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2010: Megumi Fujii defeated Carla Esparza by armbar at Bellator 24 in the opening round of the Bellator women's 115 lb. tournament. In the other quarterfinal that evening, Jessica Aguilar submitted Lynn Alvarez with an arm triangle choke.
2011: Ronda Rousey made her Strikeforce debut, submitting Sarah D'Alelio with a technical armbar at Strikeforce Challengers: Gurgel vs. Duarte.
It's the weekend. Enjoy your weekend off of UFC stuff because after this one you won't get another until November or something like that. See you Monday.
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