Twilight of Johnson's First UFC StintEdit
After losing to Josh Koscheck in 2009, Johnson was out for the remainder of that year and the entirety of 2010 with injuries. He most recently returned finally in 2011 to face Dan Hardy, winning via a dominant unanimous decision. He was next set to welcome longtime middleweight contender Nate Marquardt to the welterweight division. Unfortunately he was injured and replaced by Rick Story.
He next returned against Charlie Brenneman, winning via controversial first round headkick TKO.
After the victory, Johnson moved up to the middleweight division, a move that Johnson had been criticized for not making sooner. "Rumble" signed to face former UFC light-heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort in Belfort's native Brazil at a possible catchweight. It was indeed a catchweight as Johnson came into the weigh-ins at twelve pounds over the agreed weight limit.
Belfort received 20% of Johnson's purse and added insult to injury by defeating him via rear-naked choke submission with seconds left in the first round. After the fight, Johnson was surprisingly cut from the UFC's ranks, probably more for the weight issues than for the loss to Belfort.
Outside of the UFCEdit
After a brief hiatus, Johnson signed with the upstart promotion Titan Fighting Championships, though he stated that he was intending only to earn a few wins to get back in the UFC Octagon. Johnson made his debut in TFC against fellow UFC veteran Dave Branch, also at 185. Johnson defeated Branch via unanimous decision.
Johnson next moved up to 205 pounds (light-heavyweight) to face Esteves Jones in TFC. He defeated Jones via second round TKO.
Johnson next faced fellow UFC veteran Jake Rosholt also at 205, defeating him via second round headkick TKO after an exciting fight.
World Series of FightingEdit
Johnson next signed with World Series of Fighting, making his debut against Bellator veteran DJ Linderman. He knocked Linderman unconscious in the first round.
Johnson next signed to move up to heavyweight to face former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski in the WSOF main event. Johnson defeated Arlovsi via a close but impressive unanimous decision.
Johnson was next set to welcome Strikeforce/UFC vet Mike Kyle to the WSOF but he was injured and the fight was rescheduled. Kyle himself was injured shortly before the bout was set to take place and the fight was cancelled.
The fight was rescheduled again for January 2014 and Johnson knocked out Kyle brutally in the very first round. After the fight Johnson made it clear his intentions were to return to the UFC as he was now a free agent.
Back to the UFC at 205: Road to the TitleEdit
Johnson indeed signed in February 2014 to return to the UFC to fight contender Phil Davis. Johnson put on the performance of his career in dominating Davis en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Johnson next signed to fight oft-injured Pride veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Johnson destroyed the highly touted Nogueira knocking him out in just forty-four seconds.
He then called out heavyweight contender and former training partner Alistair Overeem for a bit of a grudge match. Instead, after a decent layoff, Johnson signed to fight contender Alexander Gustafsson for the next UFC light-heavyweight title shot. Johnson scored a stunning first round knockout victory over Gustafsson to earn the next title shot and a title fight between Johnson and Jones was scheduled for May 2015.
Fighting for the Belt Edit
Roughly a month before the bout, however, Jones was involved in a hit-and-run accident in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in which a pregnant woman was injured. Jones turned himself in, and was stripped the next day of his UFC light-heavyweight title and suspended indefinitely from the UFC. Johnson and Dan Cormier would fight for the vacated belt at the same event as had been scheduled.
- Anthony Johnson vs. Chad Reiner - The fight was the UFC debut of Anthony Johnson.
- Anthony Johnson vs. Luigi Fioravanti - After the fight, Luigi Fioravanti was cut by the UFC.
- Anthony Johnson vs. Dan Hardy - After the fight, Dan Hardy was cut -- or should have been.
- Anthony Johnson vs. Charlie Brenneman - The fight's stoppage was considered late and controversial, but Charlie Brenneman was clearly finished.
- Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson - The fight was supposed to be Johnson's middleweight debut but instead he weighed in far over the middleweight limit and it was at a catchweight.
- Anthony Johnson vs. Esteves Jones - The fight was the light-heavyweight debut of Johnson.
- Anthony Johnson vs. Jake Rosholt
- Anthony Johnson vs. Andrei Arlovski - The fight was the heavyweight debut of Johnson.
- Anthony Johnson vs. Alexander Gustafsson - The fight was to decide the next contender for Jon Jones' UFC light-heavyweight title.
- Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson - The fight was for the vacant UFC light-heavyweight title.
- Anthony Johnson vs. Jimi Manuwa
- Anthony Johnson vs. Glover Teixeira