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Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson updates comeback plans, plotting return to USADA testing pool

Anthony Johnson
Anthony Johnson
Esther Lin

Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is still plotting his return to the UFC, but it appears his first fight won’t happen until at least the latter part of 2020.

The former light heavyweight title contender announced last year that he intended to end his retirement and comeback to action but there’s still been no date booked for his first fight since falling to Daniel Cormier in 2017.

According to Johnson, his plan to fight again remains the same and he’s open to fights at either heavyweight or light heavyweight once he’s active again. Right now, the 36-year-old veteran says he’s walking around at just over 230 pounds.

“I mean everything’s going smooth,” Johnson said about his return during the Dominance Media day in Las Vegas. “No date set yet. I just plan on catching a lot of bodies when I come back. That’s all I know.

“It don’t matter if it’s heavyweight or light heavyweight. I knock them all out, it don’t matter.”

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to Johnson’s comeback will be re-entering the USADA drug testing pool after returning from retirement.

All fighters who retire and leave the testing pool have to notify the UFC’s anti-doping partner and then submit to at least six months of testing before being allowed to fight again.

As of now, Johnson hasn’t jumped back into the testing pool, which means the timeline for his return will be at least six months from the day he rejoins the UFC’s anti-doping program.

“Probably next month, something like that,” Johnson responded when asked about joining the USADA testing pool again.

When it comes to his future in the UFC, Johnson doesn’t seem to be setting any expectations for himself outside of looking forward to fighting again.

His retirement after a title fight loss three years ago was a bit shocking but Johnson knows he’s in a much different position with his comeback than some athletes who just don’t know when to walk away.

“For me, I didn’t have to retire,” Johnson explained. “I retired on my own. Other ones that retired and came back, they needed to retire and stay retired the first time. I guess they thought they had a little bit left in the tank. Hopefully that’s not me whenever I come back. I don’t know.”

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