According to longtime coach Henri Hooft, the now retired fighter's post-fight career has to do with football, even though Johnson specified he's not trying to play the sport.
“I’m not going to go into details, because I don’t know the real details, but everybody sees his (social media) pages and it has to do with football,” Hooft said on The MMA Hour. “I don’t know, I didn’t really discuss the details, but he seems to be busy with this for awhile and enjoying it. It has something to do, totally different than with MMA, and I think if you really want to stop fighting, you really need to step away from it, because if you keep hanging in there, you’ll probably get lured back in there. Anthony is 33 years old, so you never know what happens in the future, but if you want to step away from it, you really need to step away from it. Or you need to become a coach, like I did after my fight career. But it’s totally different than MMA. I think it has something to do with football. If you look at his Twitter and his social media, people will find out sooner or later what’s really going on.”
Johnson has no professional football experience to speak of, as he has been competing as a professional MMA fighter for over a decade now.
Even though Johnson shocked the MMA world with his retirement announcement, it didn’t come as quite the shock to Hooft and his coaching staff.
“He talked about retiring and the end of his career for some time,” Hooft said. “I know he has an interest in other things he wants to do in life. We talked about it a lot, and we had an idea we talked about of getting that belt, and then probably dropping it in the middle (of the cage). That was an idea that we had, that he had, and that we talked about, but I didn’t really know on Saturday that he would retire. But I knew about his feelings and I’m not surprised.”
Hooft has been Johnson’s coach for the last six years, including his entire second run in the UFC.