While calling people out isn’t something that Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson is known for, that all changed with Alexander Gustafsson.
The light heavyweight contender said that he became increasingly frustrated with the Swede saying that he was prepared to sit out and wait for a title shot instead of accepting a fight against himself who is both ready and willing.
“I just wanted a yes or a no to the fight,” Johnson said on yesterday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “With him not responding, it just pretty much pissed me off.
“Gus gave Jon (Jones) a run for his money, the toughest fight Jon has ever had. Everybody either has a fight lined up or they’re injured, and the only people in the top-five who don’t have a fight are me and Gus, so why not just do it for the fans and just see what we can do? Gus says he’s one of the best in the world, and I feel like I’m one of the best in the world, so why not just do it and see what happens?”
While Gustafsson eventually greenlit the match, it was not without controversy. After feeling like he was intentionally skipped over in order to give Daniel Cormier the next shot at Jones, Gustafsson insulted Johnson when initially asked if he would consider a match against Rumble while he waited for the Jones and Cormier drama to play out. He told Swedish outlet Expressen that the two fighters “are not in the playground anymore” and Johnson needed to work his way up the ladder.
“To me, that’s what made it personal,” Johnson said. “That’s what made it personal, him saying that. He doesn’t have to be impressed with me, but saying that I need a few more fights to get to him or something like that, in my opinion, dude, nobody knew who you were until you fought Jon. You were just an average Joe, just like me, until you fought Jon. You gave Jon a great fight, now the whole world knows who you are. You’re like an overnight celebrity.
“That’s what happens when you go in there and fight your ass off. But don’t try to belittle me. You didn’t win; don’t make it seem like you’re the champion and you can say those type of things. That kind of got to me, like he’s just the head honcho when he isn’t, he lost to the head honcho.”
Tags: Alexander Gustafsson, Anthony Johnson, Mixed Martial Arts