Anthony Johnson's MMA return against Yoel Romero was one of the most anticipated fights of 2021, so it's no surprise "Rumble" was upset when Romero failed his medical screening and fell off Friday's Bellator 258 card.
"I was very disappointed," Johnson told reporters Wednesday. "Not only were the fans counting on that fight, I was too. I had trained my butt off for him like I do every fight. But I mean, it is what it is. What can I do about it? Every time it seems like I'm about to have a big fight, I get a change-up all the time."
Johnson, a former UFC title challenger, is coming back to mixed martial arts after retiring in April 2017. He signed with Bellator in December.
The 37-year-old is now set to meet Jose Augusto, who stepped into Friday's co-main event just days ago, in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinals.
"I knew I wanted to fight," Johnson said. "I was presented some other fighters, but they weren't worth my time. ... I just had to suck it up and say, 'You know what? I'm fighting. The fans want to see me fight, I want to fight, I know the organization wants me to fight, so let's just do it. Let's get somebody that's worthy, get somebody who deserves a shot to fight me.'"
If Johnson moves on in the tournament after the Augusto fight, it'll be a while before a matchup with Romero could materialize. But if Bellator decides to revisit that booking in the future, "Rumble" would definitely be in.
"If it happens, it happens, man," Johnson said. "I just take everything one step at a time. But yeah, if I get a chance to fight Yoel, I will.
"The fans wanted to see it," he continued. "I was amped up for it, but the people that got me amped up even more, got me looking forward to it even more, were the fans. The fans were so into it and so pumped up. I feel bad for them more than I feel bad for Yoel because they don't get to see the show that they were wanting to see."