UFC 202 has come and past and with it came possibly one of the largest events that online wagering has been a part of since Muhammad Ali was still stepping inside the ring. There’s no question the rematch between McGregor and Diaz will be remembered throughout sporting communities for ages to come. But in the magnitude of such a colossal event certain fights, that were spectacular in their own right, got lost. This includes Mike Perry continually dropping his South Korean opponent, Donald Cerrone’s Mortal Kombat-like combo to finish off Story, and Anthony Johnson’s impressive display of power. Out of all these Johnson’s knockout shines brightly as the most impressive.
There are so many things that can be said about Johnson’s performance at 202 that it’s hard to even begin. At the UFC 202 press conference Johnson was already standing-out for being characteristically well-mannered. Both his and Glover Teixeira’s comments were respectful, truthful, and above all PG friendly. Their rhetoric was contrasted sharply to the narrative that Diaz and McGregor are known for using, which is notorious for being pure trash-talk and ridden with expletives. Both Glover and Johnson refrained from talking about the future, preferring to focus on the matchup that they were facing. Those who bet on UFC might argue that their behavior might not help sell seats, but either way it was surprisingly refreshing.
Once both fighters stepped into the ring it was a completely different atmosphere, although, that atmosphere didn’t last too long. Within 13 seconds Johnson was able to connect a blow that sent Glover straight to the ground. The strike was so devastating that the entire online wagering community was rocked by it. After Teixiera fell on his back Johnson sprang to finish him off even though it was unnecessary. The referee stepped in and Johnson jumped in jubilee of his victory. Teixiera remained on the ground and it took some time for him to fully recover. There is no doubt the look on Glover’s face as he lied on the bloodied mat struggling to regain conscious will inspire terror in anyone who has to step inside the octagon with Johnson.
After the fight was over Johnson demonstrated, once again, that he is a class-act in every definition of the word. He made it a point to thank Teixiera for accepting the fight and from refraining from engaging in trash-talk saying specifically “Thank you for showing the world what being a professional athlete is all about”. Even more showing of his character was the manner in which Johnson chose to call out Daniel Cormier.
“Daniel, you the man baby, but I’m coming for you.”
Johnson’s statement was met with a large response from the audience but Johnson was quick to clarify his intentions. The winner of the co-headlining match grabbed the microphone from Joe Rogan and made sure that the audience understood that he meant no disrespect. Johnson stated that Cormier is the champion and deserves respect, not boos, and that Johnson was only interested in his chance for the title. While some online wagering fans prepare to see fighters act like McGregor, the way Johnson conducts his business makes it hard to not be a fan.