Anthony Johnson will be taking on Mike Kyle on Sept 14 at WSOF 5. Bleacher Report spoke to him recently about that matchup and his fighting future. However, there were some good topics of conversation that were left out. We decided to include them in a bonus Q and A, rather than leave them on the cutting room floor.
How do you feel about Ray Sefo fighting in WSOF even though he is the president?
Anthony Johnson: I believe in Ray. Ray is a great guy. I’ve watched him fight many years. I’ve watched the little Ray fight and I’ve seen the big Ray now. My teammate Tyrone even fought him and he took that fight on short notice and gave Tyrone a hell of a fight.
For him doing it for WSOF—just my own personal opinion—I don’t think he should. You never know what could happen. I’m not doubting his ability. Just in a fight you never know what could happen. If he loses it’s a bad look for the promotion. If he wins, where does that take us?
That’s not me putting him down, or the promotion down, or anything like that. That’s just me giving my own personal opinion. Either way, when you got a guy who is a Hall of Famer, a living legend and he still has that edge, he still has that fire in him; he wants to compete.
He wants to fight, so more power to him, and good luck. I don’t doubt his ability or anything like that.
How about if Sefo wins, you return to heavyweight and fight him? How about that as a potential matchup?
AJ: I haven’t even thought about it. If it happens, it happens, but that’s never crossed my mind actually. That’s my boss. He’s family to me. I know that wouldn’t happen.
I punch the dude that writes my checks, is that a good idea? I don’t think that’s going to work out.
What was your experience of being the character Orlando “Midnight” Lee in the movie Warrior like?
AJ: It was awesome, it was so awesome. Thanks to my boys at Tapout: Skrape, Punkass and my boy Mask. Without Mask, I wouldn’t have been able to be in the movie. So, all of my credit goes to him and the stunt coordinator J.J. Perry and of course Gavin O’Connor and his brother. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
People don’t realize it’s a lot tougher to act than it looks like, it’s a lot of work. You’ll be there on set for like 12 hours straight. I was on set a couple times like that. It’s a lot of work. It’s draining.
When you saw the finished project, did you feel the fight sequences looked realistic?
AJ: They did an excellent job. The O’Connor brothers—to me—are brilliant and smart and don’t get the credit they deserve.
What I respect about them—after every scene they would call the fighters over that were doing the scene—even fighters who weren’t doing the scene—they would call the fighters over and get our opinion on a scene, or this punch… ‘Hey, does this look realistic?’
JJ Perry, the stunt coordinator would ask us for our opinions, because we’ve been in there, we’ve seen it, we’ve experienced it. So they did a good job. They took our pointers and put them in the movie and it turned out great.
My scene that actually made it in the movie, I got hurt during that scene. I can tell which scene was the one they took when I got hurt because I wasn’t faking it. I twisted my knee and tore my meniscus a little bit.
So, whenever you see it in the movie and I’m on laying the ground. That is one of the scenes where I am actually hurt. They took the real stuff and put it in the film. Those guys are great. I had so much fun, so much fun.
Michael Stets is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.
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