Last Saturday night, Anthony Johnson was a conspicuous presence at UFC 169. Days later, he’s back in the UFC fold.
The onetime welterweight will make his official return as a light-heavyweight when he takes on Phil Davis at UFC 172 in April, UFC president Dana White announced on Tuesday through his Twitter feed.
Davis had been on the sidelines since defeating Lyoto Machida last August, waiting for an opponent to open up for him. As it turns out, the UFC had to go to the free agency pool to find someone.
Johnson (16-4) has captured six straight since being released from the promotion in 2012, including four via knockout. He’s fought five of those bouts at 205 pounds, including his most recent, a first-round knockout over Mike Kyle.
The 29-year-old was always considered immensely talented but struggled with a drastic weight cut to 170 pounds, missing the mark twice while competing in the division. The last straw came for him at UFC 142, when he moved up to middleweight and still missed weight, checking in at 197 to face Vitor Belfort. After losing via submission, he was released, but it was always believed that if he could get himself together, he’d return.
His first time back will be no gimme, but it will be a chance to make an immediate statement about where he stands in the division. Davis currently stands at No. 4, and stands within shooting distance of a title shot. He’s 12-1 with 1 no contest overall.
The bout is just the latest pairing from the fast-forming event at the Baltimore Arena on April 26. Also added on Tuesday was Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch. The main event will see UFC light-heavyweight champion facing No. 1 contender Glover Teixeira.