WSOF’s Anthony Johnson Confident Heading Into Heavyweight Bout With Andrei Arlovski: “The Speed, The Power, It’s Still There”
Vet Says Light-Heavyweight Division “Still My Home”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although Anthony Johnson has fought at welterweight, middleweight and is coming off several wins while competing at 205 pounds, a few eyebrows were raised when World Series of Fighting announced that he was fighting heavyweight Andrei Arlovski next. While Johnson is excited to battle the former UFC champion this Saturday, and appears to be extremely confident heading in, it doesn’t sound like the 29 year-old-fighter is thinking of making a run at heavyweight.
“Not at all,” Johnson noted today during a media call to promote Saturday’s WSOF 2 card, when asked if he plans to stay at this weight. “Unless my man Ray Sefo and Ali (Abdel-Aziz) ask me to take another fight at heavyweight, this is probably my one and only fight at heavyweight right now.”
Johnson (14-4) made the most of his WSOF debut in November, by knocking out light-heavyweight DJ Linderman in highlight reel fashion to record his fourth consecutive win. Despite the fact that the UFC vet is one of the new promotion’s biggest names at 205 pounds, a high profile bout between Johnson and Arlovski (19-9) was evidently too hard for WSOF to pass up.
“205 is still where I want to be; it’s still my home,” Johnson noted. “You know, we’ll see. Hopefully this is a good show, and maybe for me and Andrei Arlovski, win, lose, or draw they might want to see a rematch and I’ll have to fight heavyweight again. So we’ll just have to see what happens.”
Of course, Johnson’s move to middleweight, and then light-heavyweight, was prompted by the 6’2 tall fighter’s issues with making weight. The move to heavyweight, however, was brought about by the promotion’s desire to promote a bout between Johnson and Arlovski.
“Even at 205 I wasn’t really worried about the weight cut,” said Johnson. “Right now, each fight, I get more and more comfortable with myself and the system of fighting that we have. Of course, not having to cut weight is always a good thing, so it just takes me happier and I train harder.”
“Fighting at heavyweight is kind of good, but then when you’re fighting a guy like Andrei Arlovski you have no choice but to be focused and make sure you do everything right,” added Johnson, before relaying that he’s “like 235” and that “I don’t plan on getting heavier than that.”
While Johnson has performed well at 205 pounds, it remains to be seen how the athletic and powerful fighter performs at heavyweight, considering the extra weight he’ll be carrying.
“No matter what, I feel like I always get the most out of my training,” said Johnson, while discussing his preparation for this bout. “I can fight at heavyweight or light-heavyweight…just have to make sure I get the right type of training.”
“Everything is still there: the speed, the power, it’s still there,” Johnson furthered later on in the call. “I’m still an athlete. I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything except height, and of course, I believe Andrei is bigger than me, he’s a little bit heavier than me, but overall, that’s it.”
And in terms of who has been helping Johnson get ready for the bout, at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Florida, home of the Blackzilians team?
“I train with everybody,” noted Johnson. “I train with all my guys. There’s no specific person that I train with to prepare for my fight. I train with Alistair (Overeem), Matt Mitrione, I train with Rashad Evans, I train with Michael Johnson…I train with the guys that fight at 125…I won’t to get a look from everybody no matter who I’m fighting so I train with the Blackzilians. I don’t pick one specific person to train with.”
The March 23rd, WSOF 2 card will be hosted by the Revel Resort and Casino in Atlantic City and will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network.