Anthony Johnson sat in front of the gathered media at UFC 214 and claimed that he had no interest in returning to the Octagon after announcing his retirement following his loss to Daniel Cormier at UFC 210 in April.
However, less than 48 hours later, Johnson appeared on the latest edition of The MMA Hour and claimed that he was considering returning to the Octagon to fight Jon Jones.
To make that happen, Johnson said the UFC would have to come up with an offer that makes sense to him financially.
“I’m kind of on the fence,” Johnson told Ariel Helwani, with regard to his return to the sport.
“It would have to be worth it for me financially because I have so much going on already. If I did comeback, it would just be to fight the legend Jon Jones.
“I’ve beaten pretty much everyone else except for Daniel (Cormier) and Jon. Jon got hit with some big punches from Daniel. I know if I had hit him with some of those punches he most likely would have went down.
“Jon is a hell of a fighter. I have a lot of respect for him.
He added: “At the end of the day, it’s business, and if UFC come to me with something I can’t resist, then I’ll make it happen. The price has got to be right.”
Johnson said that he would expect a bigger payday than what he received for his last outing against Cormier should he decide to return to face Jones.
“The fans loved see me and DC fighting because it was a rematch, but a fight with me and DC could never amount to what me and Jon could bring in. Jon and DC had that hype, Jon and I have our hype,” he explained.
“People weren’t that tuned in to me and DC fighting. People were tuned in to Jon and DC fighting, but everyone knows that people would tune in to see me and Jon fighting.
“Just be real with me and give me what I’m worth. I know that we are going to pull in crazy numbers if we do this, so pay us what we’re worth.”
Johnson also stated that he has officially retired from the sport and has filled out termination papers with the UFC and USADA.
“I’m out,” he said. “UFC sent me my termination papers. They terminated my contract, I think, three days later. They respected my wishes and I respect them for that.
“I know that sometimes people would have their contracts held on to until it runs out, but they let me go right away. I filled out the form for USADA and said I was retired, so everything was good.
“If I decide to fight again we’ll have to do all of this stuff again. I’ll have to wait another six months before I can fight.”
Effectively, Johnson claims he is now a free agent, but he admitted that Jones is his primary motivation for returning to the sport.
“Yeah, if I want to,” he replied when asked could he sign for a different promotion. “I’m no longer a UFC fighter.”
He added: “It’s really just Jon Jones (I want to fight) , but this is business so, money talks…that’s what it is.”
Moments after the interview was broadcast, ESPN's Brett Okamoto tweeted that Johnson had misspoke in the interview and is still under contract with the UFC.
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