If you thought perhaps there’s a chance Anthony Johnson’s takedown attempts at UFC 210 were in fact part of the game plan, well, it seems clear now that wasn’t the case.
Johnson raised thousands of eyebrows on Saturday night, by turning to his wrestling against Daniel Cormier, several times in their bout. After all, Cormier is a ridiculously talented and decorated wrestler, and Johnson is one of the hardest hitters in all of MMA.
Not only that, but Johnson landed a head kick shortly before round one ended, which appeared to break Cormier’s nose. But, “Rumble” went for more takedowns in round two. It was Cormier, however, who won the grappling battle and submitted Johnson not long after.
Well, since the fight, MMA Junkie has put transcribed some of the audio that was coming out of Johnson’s corner, and it shows wrestling was not part of the plan. For example, Johnson’s head coach, Henri Hooft, asked the feared slugger this between rounds one and two:
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?
Hooft: If you stand your distance, it’s an easy game. Why make it difficult?
There you have it. Now, we have seen bouts where fighters attempt to surprise their opponent by besting them at their own game. But, obviously Johnson’s coaches were just as surprised as the rest of us.