Anthony Johnson was pretty impressive in his last fight against Charlie Brenneman at “UFC Live 6,” finishing the MMA bout with a vicious head-kick. Even though Johnson was the favorite going into the MMA fight, most didn’t expect such a one-sided encounter.
“When you fight someone like Brenneman, you gotta set the tone first,” Johnson told reporters at a post-fight interview. “If you let him get his rhythm, you’re in for a long night. I had to make sure I was on my rhythm instead of him being on his rhythm. I was going to make sure it was going to be a short night for him.”
Brenneman propelled himself up the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight rankings by beating Rick Story at his own game, outwrestling the wrestler for 15 minutes at “UFC Live 4”. Johnson didn’t do so well the last time he faced a solid wrestler, getting dominated by Josh Koscheck in their UFC 106 encounter.
While Brenneman’s wrestling isn’t exactly on Koscheck’s level, Johnson’s takedown defense and control certainly looked improved.
A win against Brenneman doesn’t really make Johnson a title contender, but he does deserve a number one contender fight. Top welterweight contender Jon Fitch would probably be a good matchup for Johnson.
For one, a fight between the two MMA fighters would give fans a better opportunity to evaluate Johnson’s takedown defense. Fitch is definitely one of the best wrestlers in the UFC’s welterweight division, and a win over him would make Johnson a legitimate contender. Fitch is currently scheduled to face Johny Hendricks at UFC 141, so a fight between the two wouldn’t be possible until 2012 (unless Hendricks gets injured).
Fitch doesn’t gain as much from a fight against Johnson, but an impressive showing against “Rumble” would help MMA fans forget his uninspiring performance against BJ Penn at UFC 127.
A rematch against Koscheck wouldn’t be a bad idea either, and it would also help determine if Johnson is ready for a title shot.