Anthony Johnson knows he will be the enemy come UFC Fight Night in January when he steps inside the Octagon to face Alexander Gustafsson.
The two will meet in Gustafsson’s backyard in Stockholm, Sweden, with the No. 1 contender spot in the light heavyweight division on the line.
Following resigning with the UFC, Johnson has scored back-to-back wins over Phil Davis and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. “The Mauler,” though, presents the ultimate test – and “Rumble” doesn’t want to play around with him for 25 minutes.
“I’m knocking him out the fastest way I can,” said Johnson, during a recent appearance on UFC Tonight. “He’s tough. He’s given everyone he’s fought a run for their money and I’m sure he’s going to bring his A-game. I have to make sure my A-game is better than his.”
Johnson was released from the UFC following a loss to Vitor Belfort in which he missed weight. Hitting the welterweight mark was a problem for him, but he found 205 pounds more to his liking while competing on the regional circuit.
And once the UFC came calling again, Johnson responded.
He knows all his skills will be put to the test vs. Gustafsson, who took current UFC champion Jon Jones the distance last year.
“I’m better (at wrestling),” he said. “I’ll try to knock him out. People don’t want to see that lay-and-pray. I’m definitely going to try to bang.
“I’ll use my wrestling if he gets in too close, but I’m willing to exchange some punches and kicks with him.”