(Anthony Johnson mugs for the camera, seemingly unaware that he’s about to lose the last member of his entourage to a sausage that has fallen on the ground.)
You didn’t think Anthony Johnson was just going to let his hated rival, John Howard, enjoy a sweet knockout victory at ‘UFC Live’ on Sunday, did you? Naw, playa. The first rule of an MMA rivalry is that you find a way to denigrate any and all of the other guy’s accomplishments. The second rule? See if you can’t find some clever way to mock his nickname. “Rumble” has at least one of those bases covered in a recent talk with FightHype.com, where he managed to make Howard’s brain-rattling knockout of Daniel Roberts seem like a narrow escape:
"Howard ain’t got no stand-up at all. He’s lucky Roberts wasn’t stronger or he probably would have gotten submitted. …Howard is soft; he doesn’t belong in the UFC. I will be glad to show him this if he’s my next opponent. But congratulations on your win. If you fight me like that, you won’t survive. You better work on that stand-up buddy!"
We’ll grant Johnson that Howard did have some trouble in the opening moments of the fight, and he was facing an Octagon newcomer, but the violent finish to that bout makes it hard to say that he doesn’t belong in the UFC.
At least, it’s hard if you’re bound by a desire to express only rational and reasonable opinions, and that’s not how fight rivalries work. Instead, they hinge on each party’s willingness to just say stuff. Whatever pops into their head, really. The more outlandish and incendiary the better. Johnson knows this. Now Howard does too.