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Anthony Johnson ‘definitely down’ for a Bellator light heavyweight grand prix

Bellator president Scott Coker has made it clear that he’s in the business of running tournaments, and with the promotion’s featherweight grand prix nearing its conclusion, curiosity abounds about which division could be featured next.

For months, the leading candidate has seemed to be women’s flyweight, which has seen an influx of talent – including former UFC title challenger Liz Carmouche – although Coker hasn’t committed publicly. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane has been a proponent of a 125-pound tournament, but her recent loss of the title to Juliana Velasquez could complicate matters.

Enter Bellator’s light heavyweight division, which Coker already considered the best in the world prior to it being bolstered in a big way in 2020. First the promotion signed Corey Anderson after he left the UFC earlier this year. Then most recently this month, former UFC title challengers Anthony Johnson and Yoel Romero joined a division that already included the likes of champion Vadim Nemkov, Ryan Bader, Phil Davis, and Lyoto Machida. Throw in the fact that middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi has expressed his desire to win a title in another division, and Bellator could have a pretty formidable field.

If that was the case, count “Rumble” Johnson in.

“Man, I’m used to PRIDE,” Johnson recently told MMA Junkie. “You know what I mean? When they had the tournaments and stuff like that. You know what I mean? If we could do stuff like that, I’m definitely down.”

While Bellator’s ongoing featherweight grand prix featured a 16-man tournament field, the promotion has run eight-man tournaments at both heavyweight and welterweight – which were won by Bader and Douglas Lima, respectively. An eight-man field would figure to be the right number at 205 pounds if Bellator chose to go that route.

Tournament or not, though, Johnson is simply ready to welcome all challengers in his division.

“There are a lot of challenges out there, so I can’t just call out one challenge, but all the guys are good. They’re tough,” Johnson said. “They picked up Yoel, they have Bader, they have myself, they have Corey Anderson. They have a few other guys. … I look forward to competing against everybody. I’m not calling out just one person. I look forward to competing against all of them. All of them are top fighters to me regardless.”

A tournament setup just might be the way to fulfill “Rumble’s” wish.

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