Well over three years since his last outing in the cage, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson looks set to continue his career under the Bellator banner.
According to a report by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani early Wednesday, ‘Rumble’ has agreed terms with Bellator with regard to a deal but hasn’t yet put ink to paper. However, that last step is expected to be little more than a formality. This comes after Johnson is understood to have mutually parted ways with the UFC, who still held his contractual rights.
Johnson is expected to compete in Bellator’s light heavyweight division despite media whispers that his return, if it came, was likely to come at heavyweight. Johnson, who began his UFC career at 170-pounds, had appeared to be very much a heavyweight when spotted attending various other events, such as his staff role with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, but recent pictures on his Instagram appear to show the former UFC title challenger having slimmed down to a region closer to the 205-pound weight limit.
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Johnson’s last fight came at UFC 210 in April 2017 where he was submitted in the second round in a world title fight against then light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. The loss marked the end of a run of 12 wins in 13 fights — the last five of which came via knockout or TKO.
The arrival of ‘Rumble’ in Bellator will likely see him tangle sooner or later with the promotion’s 205-pound champion and Fedor Emelianenko protege, Vadim Nemkov while the likes of former champ Ryan Bader (who Johnson knocked out four years ago) and Phil Davis are also waiting in the wings.