Did Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson Make the Wrong Decision by Joining Bellator?

Published 12/09/2020, 1:30 PM EST
LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 05: Anthony Johnson prepares to face Jimi Manuwa in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC 191 event inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 5, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Anthony Johnson, affectionately known as ‘Rumble’ Johnson was supposed to make a blockbuster return to MMA. After announcing his retirement a few years ago, Johnson had said that he will return to the sport in 2020. However, COVID-19 postponed the return to 2021.

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As it has turned out, Rumble will not make this return in the UFC. After Dana White had announced that the UFC will be releasing over 60 fighters before the end of the year, a move like this was expected. But not many people even remembered that Rumble was on the roster still. It’s been a long time since we saw him at his scary prime where he challenged for the Light Heavyweight title.

Now that the UFC cannot be home for him, there is one place that always welcomes former UFC talent with open arms. That promotion is Bellator, run by former Strikeforce owner Scott Coker.

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But how will this move pan out for Rumble? Will he be able to have the triumphant return to MMA that he has been planning? If he does, is Bellator really the place for him?

Anthony Johnson tears up the Bellator Light Heavyweight division?

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We still do not know who else will join Bellator after the current round of releases. However, Rumble Johnson was a fantastic pick up for the promotion. But can we say the same about Rumble joining them? Yes.

BUFFALO, NEW YORK – APRIL 07: Anthony Johnson steps on the scale during the UFC 210 weigh-in at KeyBank Center on April 7, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

This decision is not the wrong one, as Bellator is easily the second biggest promotion in North America. Johnson is accustomed to the North American style, so expecting him to move to ONE FC or Rizin would be odd. The same goes for PFL, as Rumble wouldn’t necessarily fit what they are trying to do.

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With the fall of Ryan Bader to Vadim Nemkov, there is intrigue in the division. We do not know how Rumble will look in his return to the sport, but if the UFC wasn’t going to be the place for him, Bellator was the second-best option. This is a great pick by Rumble for a promotion, and hopefully, he can help them grow.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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