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Anthony Johnson: “He’s going to be ugly when I get done with him”

Anthony Johnson will have his opportunity to set the record straight, literally, when he faces off with Kevin Burns for the second time tonight during the live finale for the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter that will take place at The Pearl in Nevada.

The pairs previous meeting was marred in controversy after Burns repeatedly poked Johnson in the eye while throwing open handed strikes due to a hand injury. He was warned four separate times during the duration of the bout and in the third round, after Johnson was poked in the eye again and fell to the ground in pain, referee Steve Mazzagatti waved the contest off and declared Burns the victor via TKO. The decision was ruled to stand and Johnson still has that nasty loss on his record that he absolutely can’t wait to erase.

Burns wanted this rematch with the dangerous 6’2″ welterweight and Johnson couldn’t be happier to grant the request. had the opportunity to catch up with Johnson prior to tonights fight and speak with him about this grudge match of sorts, training with Cung Le and not making the cut on The Ultimate Fighter amongst other things.

Cory Brady: How are you feeling physically right now in the days leading up to your rematch with Kevin Burns?

Anthony Johnson: I feel great. I had a better camp this time. Every time I do a camp it keeps getting better and better. I’ve been working a lot of things with Cung Le in San Jose. I still basically have the same game plan as the last one because it wasn’t like he was stopping anything that I was doing.

Cory Brady: Has Kevin Burns open handed strikes been addressed for this one or is there the chance that he will accidentally shove his fingers in your eye again?

Anthony Johnson: Hopefully he had his hand fixed so he can fight me like he was supposed to, like a real man instead of poking me in the eye. I don’t even know why he was fighting to begin with if his hand was broke. He wanted a rematch so he’s going to get one. I have a loss on my record because of it but it’s whatever, after December 13th I’ll erase that loss and come out with the W.

Cory Brady: Does the fact that Kevin Burns never came close to submitting you in your previous bout play a part in your confidence if the fight ends up on the ground?

Anthony Johnson: I’m confident standing and on the ground with Kevin. To me he’s not a threat on the ground, period. He’s caught some good people in submissions but I’m not worried about his ground game and I’m not worried about his stand up either. I just have to go out there and do me. If he doesn’t poke me in the eye this time he’s going to get stopped a lot quicker.

Cory Brady: The last fight with Burns was a real barn burner up until the stoppage. Are you anticipating a war this time around as well?

Anthony Johnson: I just want to finish the fight. This time I know it’s going to be a better fight. I know that he’s coming and he’s going to know that I’m coming. Either he’s going to be on or I’m going to be on. Most of the time I’m on so if he’s not then it will be a bad thing for Kevin.

Cory Brady: How do you visualize this one ending?

Anthony Johnson: I’m going to knock his head off. Plain and simple. That’s just how I do it. If he didn’t want to get his head knocked off then he shouldn’t have gotten in the octagon with me. I hope his wife loves him because he’s going to be ugly when I get done with him.

Cory Brady: Now I know you tried out for season six of The Ultimate Fighter. What was the reason you were given for not making the final cut?

Anthony Johnson: I have no idea why I didn’t make the cut. I think it was because of my size and maybe they didn’t want another Gabe Ruediger situation. I’m a big 170 and I think they didn’t want to take that chance to make them look bad and me look bad and the sport look bad. I agree with their decision because honestly to stay in a house for that long and never know when you’re going to be called to fight, that’s tough. Especially for someone like me because I pack on a lot of muscle. I’m actually glad I didn’t make The Ultimate Fighter. It made me work harder to get what I wanted.

Cory Brady: Your frame and height make you one of the more physically dominating fighters at 170. Is the cut down to welterweight difficult for you or do you have it down to a science at this point?

Anthony Johnson: It’s never easy for somebody my size to get down to 170 pounds but I have it under control. I don’t worry about it and it doesn’t really affect my cardio like a lot of people think.

Cory Brady: I heard that you wrestled in college but never really formally studied striking before jumping into mma yet many consider you one of the more lethal strikers at 170. Is striking something that just seems to come naturally to you?

Anthony Johnson: I won a National Wrestling Championship in College but I never took up boxing or any kind of martial art. Then when I started training with Chute Boxe USA and some of the guys who had been in martial arts for a while were getting the best of me and I just got tired of getting punched in the mouth before I started swinging back and it just came to me. I just worked hard at what I wanted to learn and hard work pays off when you really go out there and do your best.

Cory Brady: Alright Anthony, thanks for taking this time with us. Are there any sponsors you would like to thank?

Anthony Johnson: Tapout, Cung Le, MMA Agents, Iron Heart Pitbulls and all of my friends and family.

  • tyler says:

    Anthony”Rumble”Johnson is going to add Burns to his highlight reel with that “Farmboy” Tom Speer.That was one of the best KO’s I’ve seen he looked so pathetic on his knees with the cage holding him up.

  • Joey says:

    Johnson is going to ruin burns this fight. Antcipating a 1st round KO.

  • Justin Van Hook says:

    I disagree, Burns wins this fight by submission. Johnson saying he is not worried about the ground game will prove prophetic.

  • Bad Monkey says:

    RIP Kevin Burns

  • jj says:

    i sure hope anthony johnson gets his revenge.

    that tko loss to burns was the most bullshit controversial decision i’ve ever seen in MMA. you’d think if you detach someones retina they would loss by disqualification, or is it legal to poke in the eye as long as you don’t gouge the eyes?

    who the hell made the decision to not overturn the win???

    i have zero respect for kevin burns. instead of kevin taking time to get his hand fixed, anthony had to get his retina reattached. what to give palm strikes a bad name forever kevin.

  • Rich S. says:

    Burns got DEMOLISHED last time around..
    i mean,
    he was everything BUT unconcious in that fight..

    so if there’s one thing you can expect FOR SURE, it’s a better Burns..

    Anthony fought smart enough last time..
    if he just does the same, he should leave with a TKO or decision victory..

    But that Burns is one tough S.O.B…
    he has a chin of steel..

  • CaptainAmerica1967 says:

    Maybe Johnson should do what Brock Lesnar’s attorney team did and get an exclusion of “Steve Mazzagatti” never being able to referee in a Lesnar match again.

    Lesnar hit Mir (or Mur if you’ve Lesnar is saying it) in the back or top of the head once as Mir turned his head and Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight and took a point away (Joe Rogan couldn’t believe it). Granted, safety should be an issue, but if Steve Mazzagatti didn’t stop the fight then Mir would have most certainly lost by KO or TKO with one or two more hammer fists by Lesnar.

  • glock says:

    I’m glad Anthony sounds pissed (though it’s probably just for hype). An angry, motivated, healthy, conditioned AJ, cognizant of having been the victim of a profound injustice AND an unnecessary, painful,expensive, career threatening injury should be a thing to behold….. I hope for an execution of his game plan with extreme prejudice. But if not, I have enough margaritas to help us cope with the realization that there is no God…….

  • jesusblanco says:

    Johnson is an athlete and not a thinking fighter. It was a good fight with burns being injured. A healthy burns an an emotional Johnson should play into burns favor.

  • glock says:

    There is a God, can I get an AMEN?………

  • tyler durden says:

    That was brutal!!

  • paddiosf says:

    All you fools where wrong, I love it, redemption is a Bitch..add another highlight reel KO to his collection..

  • paddiosf says:

    And JesusBlanco comment that “Johnson is a athlete not a thinker” is so ignorant in my opionion, so what are you really saying? he’s a dumb? complete idiot…

  • tyler says:

    paddiosf what are you talking about? Saying “all you fools were wrong” did you even read the other posts most people picked Johnson!

  • jesusblanco says:

    I want to apologize to Johnson because he did not let his emotions get the best of him. Training with cung Le was a great move on his part. With his wrestling background and talent for striking he should be a good fighter. My comments about him not being a thinker was not an insult but rather an assessment of his fighting style. Bonnar or hazelett are fighters who I would say are thinkers.


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