Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson officially returns to USADA testing pool, UFC return still 6 months away

Anthony Johnson

Anthony Johnson | Esther Lin

Anthony Johnson is one step closer to his UFC return.

The former light heavyweight title contender has officially re-entered the promotion’s anti-doping program through the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

A testing update published on Sept. 10 revealed that Johnson took his first test after previously announcing plans to return to UFC’s anti-doping program as required for fighters coming out of retirement. Johnson initially called it a career following a UFC light heavyweight title fight loss to Daniel Cormier in 2017.

The ferocious knockout artist then announced plans to return to action in 2019 but he never actually re-entered the drug testing program. Now that he’s officially back in the UFC’s anti-doping program, one major hurdle has been cleared before he can book his first fight in over three years.

Johnson still needs to undergo at least six-months of consistent testing before he can compete again unless the UFC and the USADA issue a waiver.

That means based on a current timeline along with all of his drug tests coming back clean, Johnson would be eligible to fight again in February 2021.

The 36-year-old veteran plans to compete at 205 pounds where a new champion will be crowned at UFC 253 after Jon Jones vacated the belt to pursue fights in the heavyweight division. Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz will battle it out to determine a new champion on Sept. 26.

Johnson came up short in two previous bids to become champion with a pair of losses to Cormier. Now he returns to a much different division with Cormier retired and Jones no longer serving as champion.

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