In the main event of Saturday night’s UFC 210, Daniel Cormier defeated Anthony “Rumble” Johnson by submission. The ending was similar to the first match between the two fighters in 2015, with Cormier choking out Johnson in round three. This time around, Cormier got Johnson to submit to a rear-naked choice at 3:37 of the second round.
Directly after the fight, Johnson, 33, was interviewed by Joe Rogan and made the surprising announcement that he’s retiring from MMA. That seemed like a decision made in the emotion and disappointment of the moment, but according to Johnson, retirement was a direction he has been considering for some time now with eyes on another job.
“This is my last fight,” Johnson told Rogan. “I didn’t even tell Dana White. My coaches knew. My family knew. My friends knew. I have to thank you all for being there for me. I gave my commitment to something I’ve wanted to do for a while. It’s not MMA-related. It’s just time to move on.”
Here’s the interview:
— UFC (@ufc) April 9, 2017
“I gave my commitment to another job, something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while,” Johnson continued. “It’s not MMA-related or anything like that. It’s just time for me to move on to something else. I’m tired of getting punched and rolling around on the ground with guys and stuff like that. Ain’t nothing fun about that.”
If Johnson already had his mind on retirement, it’s possible that may have influenced his decision to disregard his trainers and coaches and wrestle with Cormier, rather than keep his distance and strike with kicks and punches. MMAJunkie transcribed the remarks from Johnson’s team during the fight and between rounds, which included coach Henri Hooft asking the fighter, “If you stand your distance, it’s an easy game. Why make it difficult?”
What is this new job that Johnson is looking forward to? After his loss, the rumblings were that Johnson will be taking a position with the Los Angeles Rams. While there has been no official word or announcement, Johnson’s Twitter account has a Rams helmet as its banner photo and the hashtags #Rams and #LARams in his bio, changes that were made shortly after the fight. So either he’s a big fan of the team or he’s promoting his new gig. (Both could be the case, of course.)
Johnson retires with a 22-6 record in UFC who twice fought for the light heavyweight title.