Anthony Johnson injured, withdraws from UFC on Versus 1 bout with John Howard

A welterweight grudge match between Anthony Johnson (8-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) and John Howard (13-4 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has been put on indefinite hold as "Rumble" was forced to bow out of the contest due to a knee injury.

The pair was scheduled to meet on the main card of "UFC on Versus 1: Vera vs. Jones," which takes place March 21 in Broomfield, Colo.

The injury was first reported by and has subsequently been verified by multiple outlets.

The UFC has yet to officially announce Johnson's withdrawal or a replacement opponent, who would be taking the fight on five-weeks' notice.

The potential for a Howard-Johnson matchup first surfaced in early 2009, but "Doomsday's" camp reportedly turned down the fight in favor of waiting for their fighter to develop further before taking on such a highly ranked opponent. Johnson has publicly bashed Howard ever since because of that decision.

"[Howard] said it was his management's call that made him not accept the fight," Johnson told back in April 2009. "But at the end of the day, it's really your call. You're the one fighting. You're the one that's got to go out there and do the damn thing, not your management."

Howard has yet to comment on Johnson's withdrawal, and representatives of his camp were not immediately available for comment.

Howard, a one-time IFL fighter who also competed for the New Jersey-based Ring of Combat promotion, owns a six-fight win streak, and he's a perfect 3-0 in the UFC. In addition to split-decision wins over Chris Wilson and Tamdan McCrory, Howard also recently scored a come-from-behind third-round knockout of Dennis Hallman at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale.

Howard, who had lost the first two rounds of the December fight and seemed on his way to a unanimous-decision loss, scored the fight-ending left punch with just five seconds remaining in the final round.

For complete coverage of "UFC on Versus 1: Vera vs. Jones," stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of (

(Pictured: Anthony Johnson)

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ruggedjtann on Feb 14, 2010 at 10:15 am ET
damn it

pingel on Feb 14, 2010 at 10:49 am ET

but look at the photo...he seems to agree with us

talkfromtoronto on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:22 pm ET
thats the face of a man who cant make weight

Trick on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm ET
Yes, damn it!

These fighters needs to stop fight for real in a training session.

inigma34 on Feb 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm ET
Here we go again. All these injuries are starting to seem more than coincidence.

bencoates on Feb 14, 2010 at 10:15 am ET
here we go, injury bug bites again!!! this sucks, i love watching johnson fight.

analyst101 on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm ET
Maybe the level of competition is just evolving so much that fighters are training too hard nowadays.

It's like what Forrest said.

When you train to fight guys, you get hurt.

It's a damn shame tho. I like Anthony Johnson.

JohnnyV5 on Feb 14, 2010 at 10:17 am ET
Damnit! I was fearing the worst for Howard too.  I hope no more injuries come from this card, it was looking great for the debut on versus.

trippedindahead on Feb 14, 2010 at 10:24 am ET
I want them to start dropping like flies............I don't get VS.  Thank you comcast and directv.  Just kidding that sucks.  Big fan of Rumble. 

QBALL on Feb 14, 2010 at 10:32 am ET
Let's do Rumble and Swick or Kos.

JohnnyV5 on Feb 14, 2010 at 10:46 am ET
Kos already choked Rumble out, I would agree with Swick hoping Rumble would knock his head off.

QBALL on Feb 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm ET
My mistake. I wasn't thinking. Not even the right person I was talking about. Rumble's out, I was thinking Howard vs. Kos or Swick. It would be a big step up in competition but I think if they were willing to give him Rumble then they can give him Kos or Swick.

JohnnyV5 on Feb 14, 2010 at 8:25 pm ET
Hell yea either one would be a huge step-up for Howard, Swick has looked bad as of recent he has a chance there.

BrassJunkie on Feb 14, 2010 at 10:33 am ET
man, it seems like the UFC curse is carrying over into 2010. I just hope AJ has a good recovery..

EVEonline on Feb 14, 2010 at 10:45 am ET
A true shame.....some sick tattoos on him though.

blingdogg01 on Feb 14, 2010 at 10:50 am ET
Man, this sucks!! It would've been an awesome matchup.

I really don't understand. Back in the day injuries were never so common. Every once in a while it happened, but not so often. What's going on these days?

deathlock on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:07 am ET
it's from the evolution of the "training camp", with more will to be the best

fghtfn on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:38 am ET
Evolution?This is getting ridiculous.These fighters need to start training smarter.I don't understand how so many fighters are getting hurt so bad in's not a fight it's ..TRAINING.

analyst101 on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm ET
It's funny I posted something like this above before I saw this.

Yeah these guys train smart but sh*t happens.

The things these guys do, now we should understand why guys come into a fight grateful to make it through their training camps.


coreymb on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:23 pm ET
A lot more fighters/camps do realistic fights in training camp to replicate the fight to the best they can for their opponents.

Wanderlei goes full force in training and dosn't wear his head gear at all! Blackhouse really goes at it as well.(just from seeing some of their training videos and from some interviews)..and so on.

That being said going full force to train for high caliber fights or try to break into bigger rankings have a much higher risk of injury.

MokaBlast on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:10 am ET
Im a big Rumble fan - im just happy he didnt have to fight

Howard cuz i like Doomsday also. Its like putting two most promising prospects against each other

The WW division is very deep so a replacement should not be a problem

Better yet get him in with a new comer 2 the UFC.

Just rather Rumble fight like paul Daley. That i wanna see. Thats fireworks written all over it!

carp on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:17 am ET
Is Daley not a promising prospect?  You flipped when you should have flopped.... just saying... and any no-moka's make it as top prospects... lol

xposipx on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:22 pm ET
A better example is Phil Davis and Gustofson (sp). I really dislike that match-up with two  green prospects. This one was good - both had at least 3 fights in the UFC. I had Howard taking another narrow decision based on takedowns and control anyways.

Karate-Dohhh on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:13 am ET
Still a great looking card full of sluggers, thank god this match was out and not Jr's or Jones.

patbarryfan on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:29 am ET
Rumble looks like somebody just stole his lunch money. LOL. I wonder how long before a fight does Rumble start cutting weight? Doesnt he walk around at 205+?

analyst101 on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm ET
That pic is from when he couldn't make weight against Yoshida.

He lost a lot of money cuz of that.

ZachAttack on Feb 14, 2010 at 3:53 pm ET
he walks around at 210-220.. hes a fu*king huge welterweight...

patbarryfan on Feb 14, 2010 at 4:41 pm ET
Thanks. I knew it was some where around there.

Apocacryptic on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:32 am ET
Move James Irvin fight to main card

Ramses1134 on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm ET
thats not gonna happen cus his last fight was a catastrophic loss to anderson silva, if he was coming off a decent win, id agree with you though.

gd12991 on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:05 pm ET
That fight was so long ago though. Irvin has been set up for two fights since and has had to back out because of injury.
Also it's a VS event, Irvin could easily be put on the main card.

If Forrest Griffin was on this card he would definitely be on the main one and his last fight was an arguably worse catastrophic loss to Anderson Silva.

talkfromtoronto on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:38 pm ET
i havent checked out whats on the undercard and whats on the main card but i really like to watch irvin fight and im interested in seeing how he looks like at 185.

james irvin is not forrest griffen. what happens with their fight arent the same even if they are coming off similiar loses

deenofmean on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:34 am ET
These things happen. UFC will make sure the fight happens at a later date. Their roster is that big that a suitable replacement will be found. MMA is a tough sport and injuries are inevitable.

leglace on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm ET
Just a suspicion. Rumble may have realized he can't get down to 170 in a week at this point.

Heratic on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:11 pm ET
the fight is in a month there guy

Juves4783 on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:22 pm ET
now, howard can start talking trash about johnson ducking.

necrowebb on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:31 pm ET
I have floor seats here in Denver for this card and I was just telling my friend last nite how so far so good no injuries to anyone on the here we go and it starts. I just hope this is it and there is no more, but really there has been quite a few lately and with the Maia/Belfort thing I just will not count on any matchup that I am looking forward to. I know it happens but damn...I wanted to see this fight!

Ramses1134 on Feb 14, 2010 at 1:02 pm ET
to be honest, i thought the same thing, that maybe he wasnt gonna be able to make weight. though it is a month away, but weight cutting is a long process. 4 weeks might not be enough to drop 50 lbs. a tried and true NCAA wrestler can drop 20-30 lbs in a day or 2, but rumble is dropping from 220 or so. dude needs to move to MW division. what is his reasoning for staying at WW? dropping 50 lbs each time hes going to fight is insane.

cj00 on Feb 14, 2010 at 1:33 pm ET
ive finally come to terms that there is not going to be a evans/rampage or griffen/lil nog big name type fight in montreal (dont get me wrong its a great card as is, just teased big time with those names)

id like to see this fight on the 113 card though, this would defiantly be a nice addition if possible

browndeity on Feb 14, 2010 at 1:35 pm ET
he doesn't always walk around at 220, he had an injury so thats why he was at 220, lets hope he doesn't get back up there with this injury!!

weaponX on Feb 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm ET
here we go with this b.s again.

next carwin, then lesnar, shogun etc

rush16 on Feb 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm ET
Johnson needs to move to MW.

MikeMeraz on Feb 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm ET
Without question. Besides Vera/Jones, this was the only fight I REALLY wanted to see, cause I heard so many good things about Howard and I thought he would get the upset. f**k!

I hope they find a replacement. I still wanna see John Howard. Give em Marcus Davis or Phil Baroni.

dtruth2010 on Feb 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm ET
howard was gone get knocked out

ZachAttack on Feb 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm ET
I think anthony takes a toll on his body with the weight cuts..
No wonder hes injured all the time..
A move to MW is imminent I think..

There would less stress on the body on cutting to 85... he's such a huge 170r..


dtruth2010 on Feb 14, 2010 at 4:46 pm ET
what does cutting weight have to do with a messed up knee?

MDaniels on Feb 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm ET
The Boston Herald has reported that Daniel Roberts will replace Anthony Johnson.


Fizzle on Feb 14, 2010 at 8:03 pm ET
Thats not spam my friend, Daniel Roberts is fighting Howard. Not excited at all anymore for this fight.

shaun2000 on Feb 14, 2010 at 5:46 pm ET
they should bump up another fight to the Televised card. all these fights sound intersesting.
  • Spencer Fisher vs. Duane "Bang" Ludwig
  • James Irvin vs. Alessio Sakara
  • Shannon Gugerty vs. Clay Guida
  • Eliot Marshall vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
  • Chase Gormley vs. Brendan Schaub

ShogunWasRobbed on Feb 15, 2010 at 2:40 am ET
Out of these fights, I'd most want to see the Eliot Marshall/Matyushenko fight.

Unclecliffy on Feb 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm ET
What the heck is going on in these camps? Kampmann, Belfort and now Johnson is out too. Hopefully, Rumble's injury is the last in a while. Not a fan of scrambled PPV cards like the ones we had during the latter part of 09. 

MemphisBen on Feb 14, 2010 at 7:45 pm ET
You said in a previous post that DirectTV is close on working out the Versus situation, and that the channel should be added back soon.  I'm still with DirectTV, but I'm definately on the verge of changing to Dish.  Do you have an update on this?

JMT715 on Feb 14, 2010 at 11:40 pm ET
Disappointing to hear but at least their hotels are still up and running

BigrDeyRHardrDeyFall on Feb 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm ET

Its too bad Johnson pulled out. Anxious to see him get his azz beat again. Some people need to be knocked down a peg. He got successful real fast and it went to his head….. those that know him real time see how he has changed as a man. Johnson has no honor. Howard will have his chance.


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