Some of those who saw his exceptional performances at light heavyweight, and even at heavyweight, might be surprised to learn that Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson was once a card-carrying member of the UFC’s welterweight division.
Between 2006 and 2011, Johnson was a player in the 170-pound division and became infamous for his struggles on the scales to make the welterweight limit.
Kamaru Usman, a current contender in the 170-pound fold, says that Darren Till’s attempts to get down the 170-pound limit are similar to that of ‘Rumble’.
“With Darren Till, he’s shown that it’s a weight issue,” Usman said to Luke Thomas on The MMA Hour via MMA Fighting. “He’s a big guy. It’s not his fault, he’s growing, he’s a human being — he’s a big guy. With Till, it could be a weight issue and it could be something else.”
Till failed to make weight in his last bout, a close decision win against Stephen Thompson in Liverpool last May. Till accepted full responsibility for the situation, despite a family issue cropping up on the eve of the fight which caused distraction.
“With Darren Till, he’s shown that it’s a weight issue. He’s a big guy. It’s not his fault, he’s growing, he’s a human being — he’s a big guy. With Till, it could be a weight issue and it could be something else.
“That’s how I think of those guys. With Woodley, weight’s not going to be an issue, it’ll be something else. With Till it could be a number of things. I’m ready for either one of them. And I’m ready if nothing happens and I make weight. I did it in college every weekend for free.”
Usman goes on to suggest that the fact that Till missed weight for his hometown bout at the start of the summer is a bad sign and it will be interesting to see how he goes about the same situation in a foreign country, and where he has to make championship weight.
“With that Stephen Thompson fight, [Till] was given ample amount of time,” Usman said. “He knew about that awhile. He was training and training and they were basically just trying to get ‘Wonderboy’ to take the fight and fly where they were fighting.
“You had ample amount of time, you didn’t have to travel, you were in your hometown, you slept in you bed and things still got in the way of you making that weight. Now when you don’t have ample amount of time, you have 48 days to train and get down to weight…I saw him in Vegas he’s a big guy, a really big guy.
“Now it’s 48 days to make weight and you have to travel to America. It makes it a lot more difficult.”
As for a welterweight of Till’s size, Usman says he has seen it all before.
“For [Till] it’s especially tough,” said Usman. “What it reminds me of is Anthony Johnson continuously trying to make 170 back in the day. This was the same struggle and I bet it’s the same for him.”