(Editors note: Anthony Johnson’s UFC debut has been pushed back for undisclosed reasons) OTM: We first saw you when you were representing Chute Boxe USA in Pangaea Fights. And this past UFC fight night we saw you fight Chad Reiner. You look really good in that octagon, what do you attribute that to?
Anthony: Well I’m with Rigan Machado and with Team Allegiance now. Same gym and trainers just the head coach moved on to another spot. But everything is going great now, training jiu jitsu is better than ever. We’re doing Muay Thai still, and I’m doing a lot more boxing now before Chute Boxe USA was all about just punching you in the mouth and see who could hit the hardest in the gym when you know you’re not supposed to do that to your training partner. Now it’s all about getting better as a Team and as an individual. Everything’s changed a lot.
OTM: So we’ll continue seeing you fight at 170 lbs.
Anthony: Yeah, I’ll be at 170 lbs. for a long time. I’m gonna take it at 170 lbs; give me three years, if that. I’m ready for Matt Sera right now.
OTM: Seeing you in the Pangaea Fight you looked very explosive and your strikes looked good, are you also working on your wrestling.
Anthony: A lot of people don’t know I was a national wrestling Champion in college. I got the wrestling down packed; people don’t know that’s one of my strongest points when it comes down to the training and in MMA. It’s very hard to take me down, I’ll give you my leg on purpose just to play with people sometimes, but I’m also learning that everybody else is doing the same thing that I’m doing and now you can’t play with people. You have to really be serious and do your best at not letting them get it so wrestling, I can’t say is my strongest anymore. To me I think my stand up is my strongest.
OTM: You definitely looked very explosive. Over all your athleticism going into that fight and this past fight in the UFC you looked very strong and very athletic. In the UFC you’re in a very deep division.
Anthony: A 170 lbs. division is very deep division. Everybody’s been stuck on 205 lbs. because Chuck Liddell has been running through people but they don’t know how deep 170 is. Every weight class is deep but I don’t think they can compare to 155 and 170. Those two weight classes are by far the deepest weight classes in the world. At 205 I give them credit, at 185 my man Anderson Silva I love him to death. That’s one of my good friends but I just don’t see any weight class competing with 155 and 170. Those little guys, there are so may of them, they’re just like a bunch of little bumble bees just coming at you. But 170 lbs. division is just so packed and I give every fighter in there respect except Diego Sanchez.
OTM: Over all you have Karo Parisyan, Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, just to name a few. Is there anybody you’d like to fight? Now that you’re a contender, are you looking for anybody in particular?
Anthony: Yeah, Diego Sanchez. I called out Diego before I ever signed with UFC. From the time I saw him on the show I hadn’t even had my first fight yet but I just looked at him and I just knew, I just don’t like that kid. I hate Diego dude! I give him credit as an MMA fighter, cause he trains hard, but not cause of how he’s winning. He’s doing a good job as far as helping the sport grow and all of that, but I just want to fight him and get a good piece of him, with just one shot. That’s all I ask for is one shot with Diego. I challenge him; I don’t care where I’m at. If I can get a chance to fight him, I’ll do it. He’s a man just like me and I’m sure he’s not gonna back down from me which is even better. I’ll take the money that UFC gives me, let them pay Diego more but at the end what’s gonna matter is that my hand is gonna get raised at the end. Diego’s gonna have his head down twice after Koscheck and then after me.
OTM: What did you think about that Koscheck fight? Did you see a tentative Diego? Did you see somebody whose game plan was thrown off?
Anthony: Koscheck fought smart. I think there could’ve been more striking involved. But Diego is one dimensional. He did that retarded right hook the whole time. You saw it coming every time, the only punch he did was the right hook. Koscheck will kick every now and then and throw an over-hand right, throw a left; he’ll mix it up more than Diego. All Diego wanted to do was that fake with a left come with a right hook, you saw it every time. If he had a better hands coach maybe he can do something. If you can stop Diego’s takedown, which his wrestling is not that great, than you got him beat. I was a JC National Champion; I know Koscheck is awesome at wrestling, so Diego knew he didn’t have a prayer. Koscheck gave it to him, and Diego is just not that good to me, they keep talking about his Jackson Submission fighting and all that and I give all those guys credit but Diego can’t do anything. He has cardio forever, but if he can’t take you down than he is finished and I’ll say it to his face, Diego if you can’t take anybody down, you’re finished.
OTM: Great words from Anthony, Anthony over all I think you’re a great addition to the UFC 170 lbs division and I look forward to your up and coming fights, anything else you’d like to add for all your fans and OnTheMat.com?
Anthony: Thanks for all the support and love. Keep rooting for Anthony Johnson in the UFC.