Shortly after light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier was forced to pull out of his scheduled UFC 197 main event defense against Jon Jones, rumors began to spread that contender Anthony Johnson had accepted, then later pulled out of a replacement slot against "Bones." Johnson subsequently came out and said he never accepted the short-notice interim title fight against Jones.
In fact, he says he never even considered it. "No, I never accepted it. I never said 'Yeah' at all," he recently told MMA Fighting.
"By the time my manager got a couple words out of his mouth, I said, 'I'm not taking that fight.' ... I just knew that I wasn't going to be able to take that fight."
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Johnson went on to say that he hasn't worn a mouthguard since his last bout, because of surgical procedures he went through on his jaw. "I had some implants put in my mouth, screws in the back of my jaw," he explained.
Johnson first said that the repair was needed because of damage sustained in fighting but then blamed his sweet tooth, with a smile. "Yeah, just taking some blows and I like to eat gummi bears and sweets, so I can't even say it is from the fighting. Yeah, it's from the sweets," he admitted.
Johnson went on to say that he's got more dental work scheduled for this week and doesn't seem to regret that he missed out an another title fight. "It was kind of bad timing with everything, but that was just how it was meant to happen," he reasoned.
In fact, Johnson revealed that even if he hadn't recently had screws put in his mouth, he would not have accepted the fill-in fight against Jones, who he was supposed to face for the title last year before Jones was arrested.
"No. It's too big of a fight for us, two alpha males," Johnson said.
"The fans deserve a real championship fight between Jon and I, because that's what we were supposed to give them before -- not an interim title. If you win the interim title, you're still in second place because that's not the real title. I don't think I would have taken it, anyway."