Exclusive Anthony Johnson Interview

Anthony Johnson fights Yoshiyuki Yoshida at tonight’s UFC 104 event in Los Angeles. This week, however, Johnson has battled an enemy of a different sort: a debilitating weight cut that left him exhausted and barely able to walk without assistance on weigh-in day. Johnson missed the welterweight mark by a full five pounds, leading to many questions from fans and the media regarding his decision to cut from such a high weight.

Heavy.com’s Jeremy Botter caught up with Johnson this afternoon in Los Angeles to talk about the weight cut, his feelings on missing weight, and what he’ll do in the future to prevent it from happening again.

Heavy.com: How are you feeling today?

Anthony Johnson: I’m a lot better than I was yesterday.

Heavy.com: It looked pretty rough up there at the weigh-ins for you.

Anthony Johnson: Yeah, man. Trying to drop from 220 down to 170…it’s hard, but I know that if I would have had another hour or two I would have made it. You know, it was just another experiment that went wrong, but I’ll make up for it.

Heavy.com: Was this the first time you tried to cut from 220?

Anthony Johnson: Yeah, I never get that high. That’s the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. But I got an injury when I was getting ready for Matt Brown, I hurt my knee again. When you get injured, you don’t do much. You sit around and eat and get fat. That’s exactly what I did.

Heavy.com: What weight do you usually start at?

Anthony Johnson: Usually I start at 210. That ten pound difference made a big impact. You know what I mean? It kicked my butt, but I was prepared for it. I was prepared to just grind it out and get down to 171. And I was in the sauna for an hour and I lost three or four pounds right off the bat. I knew it was coming off. That’s why I said that if I had another hour or two, I would have been able to make it. I got out of the sauna, and I think I was out too long because my sweating stopped, and when I got back in the sauna I couldn’t get anything else off. That’s what broke me.

Heavy.com: What were you at the day before the weigh-ins?

Anthony Johnson: Well, I was working with this trainer, a friend of my agent. He wanted me to try barely eating anything but getting a lot of fluids in me. So we did that, and I was 192 on Monday and I should have been less than 185 on Wednesday and I wouldn’t need to make the hard cut on Friday. The trainer told me, “drink a lot of water and don’t eat too much”. So I did that, and then on Thursday I did a three hour workout and dropped from 198 to 183. I was 192 and I drank all of this water that he wanted me to drink and got back up to 198. Doing his thing, it was cool but I think the process got started too late. If I’d done things the way I always did, I would have been fine, but trying this new method, this new way of doing things, really jacked my body up.

Heavy.com: Have you given any thought to jumping up to middleweight?

Anthony Johnson: I will eventually. Right now, I like 170. There’s nothing you can really do about it except try to cut. You know, I haven’t missed weight in two years. I always try my best, and when I don’t succeed, it irritates me and I get bummed out. It pisses me off, it pisses off the UFC and it pisses off my fans. It makes everybody mad, you know?

After this, though, I told my coaches, my agent, everybody that hangs out with me or that will ever be in my corner that we all have to sit down and get everything situated. Because I can’t be losing weight like that. And the type of training I did for this fight, certain things weren’t right, some things were. But we have to get everything in order, you know? I can’t have that, especially when we are trying to make a run for the title. I want everything organized and complete.

So my coaches, they agreed with me. We’re all going to sit down Monday. I’m not wasting any time. Monday, dude, right after this fight, I’m meeting with everybody, even my agent. I’m laying all the cards on the table, and if you don’t like it, that’s okay, but you can go your own way and I’ll go mine. No hard feelings.

I just don’t take pride in what happened yesterday. Even if I win, I don’t know what kind of emotions I’ll have. I’ve gone through a lot of emotions already. I’ve got a lot of stuff built up on the inside and hopefully I can let it all out.

Heavy.com: So you’re recovered and ready for the fight tonight?

Anthony Johnson: Oh yeah. I woke up this morning and told everybody that I’m ready to fight. The weight thing bummed me out because I was determined to make it and I was on the path to making it. I just didn’t have enough time or didn’t plan for enough time. I can’t blame anybody but myself. But I guarantee you that the next time you see me fight, it’ll be a fighter like you’ve never seen before.

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