Anthony Johnson Aiming for October Return

Written by Tom Ngo
August 22nd, 2008

Up and coming UFC welterweight, Anthony Johnson, is currently on the lonely road to recovery since suffering from an accidental eye poke in his last bout.  Johnson is regarded as one of the division’s most exciting young fighters and a controversial loss like that certainly hasn’t hurt his standing within the UFC.

Johnson was dominating the entire fight until his opponent, Kevin Burns, accidentally landed a thumb to Johnson’s eye in the 3rdRound. Johnson immediately fell to the canvas. On replay, the poke was clear and referee Steve Mazzagatti has received quite a bit of grief regarding the missed call, however Johnson was one of the few that didn’t blame Mazzagatti.
“Everybody was hating on Mazzagatti because of the call, but he was on the side I was blocking on, so he actually didn’t see the guy eye gouge me,” Johnson told MMAWeekly about the maligned referee. “All he saw was the uppercut … he called what he thought he saw and I respect him.”
It has been a month since the “loss” and Johnson has already started on the comeback trail.
“I had laser surgery to reattach my retina and I got stitches in my eyeball right now,” he stated. “The laceration on my eye was from one end of my eye to the other.”

Most of Johnson’s training has been non-contact. He feels that he should be ready to go in another two months.

“The doctor said I can be cleared in September to fight, but I don’t want to fight in September,” Johnson explained. “I’m just going to wait until October and get my eye right.”

If Johnson would have been able beat Burns, he would have thrown his name right into the mix of other 170-pound competitors that are waiting in line for a shot at reigning champion Georges St-Pierre. Johnson’s Manager, Ken Pavia, has moved forward with filing a petition to have the blemish removed from Johnson’s record.

“I wasn’t really big on the whole appealing the fight anyway,” Johnson said. “Every single champion has a loss on his record. I’m trying to see myself as the bigger and better guy. If I’m the champion one day, I’ll accept an ‘L’ (on my record).”

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