Anthony Johnson is one of the best-205 pounders in the world. After over two years in exile from the UFC, the former welterweight made a triumphant return to the promotion Saturday night, defeating top-ranked Phil Davis by unanimous decision in the UFC 172 co-main event.
Scores were 30-27 all around in favor of Johnson. For three rounds, Johnson used superior striking to tag Davis and excellent takedown defense to keep the fight standing.
Johnson stuffed all eight of the former NCAA Division I wrestling national champion's takedown attempts while landing one of his own. On the feet, Johnson kept his hands low the entire fight but used excellent head movement and footwork to dodge, weave and cut angles while landing punch, after knee after kick to the legs, body and head of Davis.
In his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Johnson thanked the man who cut him from the UFC roster two years ago, UFC president Dana White. Johnson failed to make weight before his 2012 fight with Vitor Belfort and ended up losing via first-round submission.
"Mr. Dana White. Thank you for what you did... he's the man who changed me - made me turn into a beast."
The win is Johnson's seventh straight since the loss to Belfort. Davis' loss is only the second of his career and snapped a three-fight win streak for the wrestler.
Who should be next for Johnson after his leap into the UFC light heavyweight division's elite? Let us know what you think in the comments section.