Anthony Johnson is returning to the cage after a four-year-hiatus from MMA, but reportedly with Bellator instead of UFC.
"Rumble" Johnson has mutually parted ways with the UFC and has agreed to terms with Bellator, as reported by ESPN's Ariel Helwani. Helwani subsequently noted that "Rumble" is expected to sign his deal shortly and report to Bellator's light heavyweight division in the first half of 2021.
Anthony "Rumble" Johnson has mutually parted ways with the UFC and has agreed to terms with Bellator, sources told @arielhelwani.— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 9, 2020
Johnson is expected to sign his deal imminently and compete as a light heavyweight in the first half of 2021. pic.twitter.com/UJvXkkjGFW
MMA Fighting subsequently reported that Johnson signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator.
Johnson exited the UFC following his second stoppage loss to Daniel Cormier in a 2017 light heavyweight title fight. "Rumble" has long been known as one of the biggest punchers in the history of the sport with knockout wins over the likes of Glover Teixeira, Jimi Manuwa, and — perhaps most interestingly — current Bellator heavyweight champ Ryan Bader.
Johnson enters a Bellator landscape that has his former opponent Bader atop the heavyweight landscape, and Russian Vadim Nemkov as light heavyweight champion. Reporting indicates that he will be competing at light heavyweight, but he has also competed at heavyweight in the past, so it wouldn't be too surprising to see a future heavyweight rematch against Bader.