UFC Welterweight Anthony Johnson has only six career MMA fights, however he is already looking towards the distant future. His early aspiration is to achieve the level of success and longevity as UFC Hall of Famer, Randy Couture. Johnson has proven that his style can be exciting enough to command that sort of attention.
“I’m trying to be like Randy Couture one day, better than Randy Couture,” Johnson told UFC.com. “I want to be able to be 45 years old and kicking people’s asses up and down the cage. Hopefully I’m at that caliber of a fighter by the time I get that age and have the respect of people and the respect of the sport.”
But this isn’t just another fighter talking big. Johnson has shown that his hands can be one of the deadliest in the game, knocking out two of his three UFC opponents in less than one round. But he knows that if he wants to get to Couture’s level, he has to be a well-rounded fighter. He has made strategic moves in his training to make sure that he gets to where he needs to be.
“I joined Chute Boxe in Los Angeles,” Johnson said about attempting to master his MMA game.“What happened was—I was getting hit. I’ve always been athletic and I was getting hit and I was like, ‘I’m tired of getting punched in the face.’”
Johnson knew that he had to improve on his ground game for his UFC Fight Night 14 bout on July 19th, as he will be taking on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist, Kevin Burns.
“I know he’s going to try and take me down—I know it,” Johnson said of his opponent. “He’ll try once, and if that doesn’t work, if he figures out that he can’t take me down and tries to strike with me, he might catch me one or two times. That’s part of the game—you’re supposed to get hit. Nobody’s perfect. I can dodge and block every punch that he throws at me, but I’m going to get mine too. And I’m pretty sure that mine are going to hurt more than his. I’ll send him a message on that first punch.”
If his newly learned ground game isn’t polished enough to finish off Burns, Johnson can always fall back on his specialty.
“I always intend to go into a fight and finish it,” he said. “But I can’t say how I’m going to finish it. If I just happen to catch them with something big and they’re in the way of my fists, that’s their fault. They should have moved.”