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Ufc 106:

Unlike last fight, Anthony Johnson will have no weight problems

Johnson predicts fireworks against Josh Koscheck

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Justin M. Bowen

Anthony Johnson answers questions Wednesday during open workouts at Mandalay Bay in preparation for his fight at UFC 106 Saturday where he will take on Josh Koscheck.

UFC-106 Open Workouts

Tito Ortiz answers questions Wednesday during open workouts at Mandalay Bay in preparation for his fight at UFC 106 Saturday where he will take on Forrest Griffin. Launch slideshow »

A 41-second knockout win is something a fighter should cherish — not apologize for.

However, UFC welterweight Anthony Johnson found himself doing exactly that less than a month ago in Los Angeles.

After delivering a terrific knockout win over Yoshiyuki Yoshida less than a minute into his fight at UFC 104, Johnson took the microphone and apologized to fans for failing to make the 171-pound weight limit the day before.

“I got up (the morning of weigh-ins) and tried to run, but my legs were completely dead from the night before from trying to cut weight,” Johnson said. “I got in the sauna and the weight was coming off. I was sweating like a dog, but it wasn’t enough.

“I think if I had one more day, I could have made weight. But I don’t have any excuses. I should have made it.”

Although a quickly scheduled fight with Josh Koscheck has given him the opportunity to forget his last fight, Johnson has certainly paid for the mistake.

In addition to losing a percentage of his purse from UFC 104, Johnson was also ineligible to receive the $60,000 Knockout of the Night bonus, an award he definitely would have won given his performance.

“People have ups and downs. Things happen for a reason,” Johnson said. “I didn’t get the bonus check that night. But when one door closes, another one opens. This is the time where a door is open again. I’m happy, and I’m just ready to fight.”

Although weight shouldn’t be a problem considering Johnson’s should be down from his last fight, apparently it makes no difference to his opponent if he makes it or not.

At a media session on Wednesday, Koscheck said he’d gladly take a percentage of Johnson’s purse and beat him anyway.

“I know my good friend Chuck Liddell is going crazy, like, ‘If he doesn’t make weight, we’re not fighting him,’” Koscheck said. “I’m like, ‘Chuck, are you gonna pay me my purse?' He probably would, but for me, I’m still going to fight him regardless. If he makes weight, then great. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.”

The fight certainly appears to have the potential of a slugfest, as both fighters have recorded knockout wins in their previous fights.

Johnson is widely regarded as the more dangerous striker of the two while Koscheck appears to have a wrestling advantage.

Johnson said that while he doesn’t expect Koscheck to want to stand and trade with him for long, the appeal of a knockout finish may lure his opponent into doing so.

“I would be surprised if he stood with me, but Josh has been getting some good knockouts lately,” Johnson said. “When you get knockouts like he’s been getting, you want to stay that way. The fans love it. That’s how you get paid.”

The two have a slight history with each other, as they trained together for a brief period two years ago before Johnson committed to another camp.

According to Johnson, both fighters have obviously improved since that time. Saturday will simply test which improved more.

“What more can you ask for than two guys who have improved and want to be the best?” Johnson said. “Josh is a good striker. His right hand is deadly, and when he throws it, it’s like a fastball coming at you 110 miles an hour.

“Josh is just good. I don’t have anything bad to say about the guy. We’ll see how good he is Saturday, and we’ll see how good I am. It will be a challenge for both of us.”

After missing out on the $60,000 check in his last fight, a Fight of the Night bonus for Johnson sure would take a little of that sting away.

"I'd take both," answered Johnson, when asked if he'd prefer a Fight of the Night or a quick knockout like in his last fight. "A lot can happen in 41 seconds. We'll see. But I don't think this one is going to be 41 seconds. I'm ready to go all 15 minutes.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].

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