Top light heavyweight title contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (28-6) announced his retirement from competition following a second-round submission loss to champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 210 in Buffalo on Saturday. Johnson is 33-years-old and had been competing professionally in mixed martial arts since 2006.
Johnson said he was interested in pursuing another career path though he was vague about it and wouldn’t divulge any more information about it at the time. He did say he had grown tired of getting punched in the face for a living and looked forward to moving on to a life after fighting.
The Dublin, Georgia native posted the following message on social media on Monday:
“Hello Monday! A new beginning starts today and I am so happy about that… My body can recover and I can focus on something different other than MMA. My life has been amazing and I haven’t come close to scratching the surface. I’ll miss MMA and every aspect of the game, but my time is over and I’m ready to watch the new generation take over. Now I can be Anthony Johnson/AJ and not Anthony Rumble Johnson! Thank you all for the love and support throughout the years… Rumble Squad forever!”
Johnson had earned his first shot at the UFC light heavyweight championship when he fought Cormier the first time at UFC 187 in May 2015. Cormier submitted him in the third round in that fight. Following that, “Rumble” earned three straight “Performance of the Night” bonuses with consecutive knockouts of Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira, and found himself back in title contention.
Johnson began his UFC career as a welterweight in 2007 with a 13-second KO of Chad Reiner. He had good success at welterweight though it was a tough cut for him and he missed weight on a couple occasions. Johnson also had fights at middleweight and heavyweight before finishing his career in the light heavyweight division. Known for his powerful striking, Johnson finished 16 of his 22 wins via knockout.