Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is preparing for a tough fight against Yoel Romero.
In the quarter-finals of the light heavyweight Grand Prix on May 7, both Johnson and Romero are making their Bellator debut. It’s a highly-anticipated bout and for Johnson, he believes Romero will be one of the most dangerous people he’s ever fought.
“Besides some of my training partners, yeah, I give Yoel that title,” Johnson told MMA Fighting on Wednesday during the Bellator 257 media day. “That I can think of right now, Yoel is the most dangerous fighter, I’ve actually faced, I think.”
If Johnson defeats Romero next Friday, he would face Vadim Nemkov for the belt in the semis. However, the former UFC title challenger says he’s not looking past Romero and not worrying about fighting Nemkov for the belt next time out.
“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” Johnson said. “I’m focused on Yoel. If I look past him one time, I’m done. I can’t look past him. I haven’t thought about Corey [Anderson], I haven’t thought about [Ryan] Bader, I haven’t thought about [Vadim] Nemkov. I’ve thought about Yoel.
“That’s the only human being that’s been on my mind for feels like forever,” Johnson continued. “Mad props to those guys making it to the semis but they’re not my focus. My focus is Yoel. I’ve got to get past that monster before I can face the other monsters.”
Johnson has not fought since he suffered a submission loss to Daniel Cormier at UFC 210 for the light heavyweight title in 2017 and retired from MMA. He then announced his comeback and got his release to sign with Bellator.
In his career, Johnson has fought the likes of Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader, Jimi Manuwa, Alexander Gustafsson, Vitor Belfort, and Andrei Arlovski among countless others, so it’s interesting to hear Johnson say Romero will be the toughest fighter he’s faced.