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Corner Transcript Shows Anthony Johnson’s Coaches Were Baffled By Decision To Wrestle D.C, Not To Mention Infuriated

On a couple of occasions in recent months, UFC light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier claimed that he planned to eschew his wrestling game in favour of standing and trading with terrifyingly explosive striker Anthony Johnson in their UFC 210 rematch.

On the night, however, it was Johnson who neglected to use his strengths and chose instead to play to those of his opponent. ‘Rumble’ had some success on the feet in the opening round, but far too often he chose to clinch with ‘D.C’ and look for takedowns. Johnson is a decent wrestler, but in Cormier he was facing one of the best in the business and the approach seemed to defy logic.

Though he did score a couple of takedowns early, Johnson was eventually out-grappled by Cormier and tapped to a rear-naked choke, just like he had done at the conclusion of their first meeting back in May of 2015.

If you are under the impression that this was some coach-devised plan that Johnson and his team had cooked up during camp with the intention of surprising Cormier, think again. Based on the corner transcript published on Sunday by MMAJunkie, Johnson’s head-coach Henry Hooft and his assistants were just as baffled by the tactics as everyone else.

Round 1

Voice: Take your time. Nice. Take your time. Don’t take him down.

Hooft: Don’t wrestle him.

Voice: If you’re going to go, go single.

Hooft: You don’t have to wrestle him, AJ. Just relax.

Voice: Don’t wrestle him.

Hooft: Get out of there. Get out of there.

Grappling coach Neil Melanson: OK, stud. Now, let’s get your hands hot.

Voice: Why is he wrestling him?

Hooft: This is stupid.

Voice: Why is he wrestling him?

Hooft: (Expletive) it, man. Just get off the cage.

Voice: Get out of there.

Voice: Why isn’t he listening?

(Johnson and Cormier are broken up by referee John McCarthy, and Johnson lands kicks.)

Voice: He’s tired already, DC. He doesn’t need to do this.

Voice: Why isn’t he listening?

Hooft: I don’t know why he’s doing that. We have no (expletive) eyes.

The tactic did bring some success in the early going.

Between Rounds 1 and 2

Hooft: Can you tell me why you’re wrestling? Now, you’re not going to wrestle. You take your distance. Stay away, two steps away. Why are you so worried about everything? The kicks and the knees are really good, but no kicks. Where’s your hands?

Voice: You’re doing great. Don’t (expletive) wrestle him.

Hooft: If you stand your distance, it’s an easy game. Why make it difficult?

Round 2

Hooft: Movement. Athletic. Movement. That’s it. Take your distance.

(Johnson reverses against the cage and goes for another takedown)

Hooft: You need distance.

Hooft: I’m not saying nothing.

(Cormier has Johnson on the mat and is setting up a choke)

Hooft: It’s going the same as last time.

(Johnson submits to Cormier via rear-naked choke)

Hooft: Why, why the (expletive) does this happen every (expletive) time, man? Crazy.

Afterwards, Johnson revealed that he had decided long before this fight that it would be his last. The one-time welterweight contender come light-heavyweight monster said that he would be moving on to pursue another occupation. A teary-eyed Johnson revealed this information without the support of Hooft who, despite being beckoned by Johnson over the microphone, was nowhere to be seen.

The 33-year-old Johnson retires with a record of 22-6.

Cormier, now 19-1, will likely move forward into a match-up with bitter rival Jon Jones, who is eligible to return from a year-long suspension, which stems from an anti-doping violation, in July.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.