While a fight against Yoel Romero sounded enticing, Anthony Johnson is not looking past Jose Augusto at Bellator 258.
Johnson spoke with the South China Morning Post about the last-minute opponent replacement in the middle of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. His original opponent in Romero had to be nixed from the fight after failing pre-fight medical evaluations. A former UFC light heavyweight title contender, Johnson will face a man in Augusto who is on a five-fight win streak. He won his Bellator debut in April via submission against Jonathan Wilson.
When asked about his opponent, Johnson praised Augusto while ripping on Romero.
“Yeah man, it is what it is," Johnson said (h/t MMA News). "And I wish I could fight him this weekend, but I got another opponent in Jose, who is on a five-fight win streak. To me, he’s more dangerous than Yoel. This man has everything to gain and nothing to lose. And there were other fighters that wanted to fight me and step in, but their time will come. If they want some sauce, they’ll get it.”
Johnson, who last fought in 2017, retired after losing to Daniel Cormier at UFC 210. He stated his intentions to return to action in 2019 and parted ways with the UFC in 2020. Signing with Bellator, Johnson was excited to face Romero. Bellator might have had other plans for him with Romero getting taken out of the fight, but Johnson wasn't having it.
“They had an opponent in mind, but it just wasn’t worth my time and effort," Anthony Johnson went on to say. "Or they said I could fight Yoel in July, but I’m like, I’m not waiting till July and I done put in all this work to fight Yoel. So big props to Jose, man, for stepping up. I have so much respect for that man just for doing that. Because that’s not just dangerous for me, it’s dangerous for him. But it’s such a big opportunity for him.”
Augusto made his pro debut in 2012 and is 5-1 in seven fights with one no-contest. Bellator 258 takes place on April 7 from inside the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.