The reputations of several high-profile UFC fighters have taken their lumps after failed drug tests in recent months, and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson wants to be sure he’s not one of them.
Johnson, who is scheduled to face Glover Teixeira in the light heavyweight cofeature bout of Saturday’s UFC 202 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is on the short list of hardest hitters in mixed martial arts. For some, that’s enough to raise eyebrows in the current PED-suspicious climate.
But the 32-year-old Georgia native assures he steers clear of most supplements, legal or otherwise.
“I eat right. As far as vitamins and supplements, I take regular multivitamins,” Johnson told amNewYork on Monday while promoting the pay-per-view event in Manhattan. “I’m just too afraid to try anything because I don’t want to get in trouble.”
Neither Johnson (21-5) nor Teixeira (25-4), the respective Nos. 1 and 2 contenders at 205 pounds, has failed a test under the new, more stringent drug screening process conducted by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The same goes for current champion Daniel Cormier, who is likely to face the winner of Saturday’s bout.
However, interim champion Jon Jones was flagged by USADA just a few days before his UFC 200 main event bout against Cormier. The fight was scrapped, and Jones currently is under provisional suspension. He faces a possible two-year ban from the UFC.
Johnson — who has 15 knockouts on his resume — considers Jones “the best in the world,” and he said he doesn’t want to judge the embattled fighter. He does wonder, however, why some of his peers would take the risk of putting illegal substances in their bodies.
“No matter how much you try to get around it, you get caught,” Johnson said. “… You’re trying to be a couple steps ahead of them. They’re trying to be a couple steps ahead of you.”
Ultimately, Johnson hopes someday to face both Jones and Cormier — who defeated Rumble by submission last May for the vacant championship — but he knows he first faces a stiff challenge from Teixeira.
“Glover’s a beast,” Johnson said. “He really doesn’t have any flaws.”
The UFC 202 main event pits Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor in a rematch of Diaz’s submission win in March against the boastful featherweight champion.
The bout once again will be contested at welterweight, 15 pounds above Diaz’s usual weight class and 25 above McGregor’s.
The Irishman blames the loss on several factors, including underestimating Diaz’s chin. However, McGregor still believes he will knock out his foe within the fight’s five rounds.
Once again, that’s going to be tougher than he thinks. Diaz can take a beating, and he can dish one out, too.
Diaz also has a proven track record for making it through long fights with 11 decisions, one of which went five rounds. McGregor has gone the distance just once, in a three-round affair.
Still, McGregor knows a second loss to Diaz could be damning to his drawing power. He’ll fight smarter and more economically this time against the predictable Diaz en route to a decision victory.