Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson may not be done with fighting after all.
The popular 34-year-old left the sport following a failed title challenge against UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 210 in April 2017.
Johnson (22-6-0) has confirmed he intends to come out of retirement and return to MMA, this time at heavyweight, provided one sizable condition is met by the UFC.
On Tuesday morning, the former light heavyweight title challenger posted a statement on his Instagram story explaining that he’d return to MMA at heavyweight provided the UFC match up Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier for the 265lb belt.
“Yes it’s true that I’ll come back to MMA at heavyweight, but only if Jon fights DC for the title! It’s a personal goal of mine to fight the very best of the best before I truly stop fighting. Jon was always my motivation once I went to 205. Heavyweight would be insane if the 3 of us were at it again!”
‘Rumble’ makes a point of referencing Jones as a source of inspiration during his time in the sport. Despite them both being mainstays of the 205lb rankings for some time, they never actually faced one another in the octagon, something Johnson is eager to rectify.
They did come close to fighting once, at UFC 187. Johnson was booked to challenge Jones for the light heavyweight title but unfortunately for ‘Rumble’, the bout was cancelled as a result of Jones being stripped of his title and being suspended indefinitely.
With plenty of miles left on the clock but little chance of a return to 205lbs given his current physique, Johnson appears to recognise that his last chance at both Jones and UFC gold will come at heavyweight.
Time will tell if Johnson gets his wish but with Cormier only months away from retirement himself, time is running out for the UFC to coax ‘Rumble’ back in to the octagon with the promise of DC vs Jones 3 at heavyweight.