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Favorite Anthony Johnson: Slap in face to champ Daniel Cormier that he's underdog at UFC 210



BUFFALO, N.Y. – Anthony Johnson is fine being a slight favorite as the challenger on Saturday at UFC 210, even if he doesn’t understand why.

Johnson (22-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) challenges Daniel Cormier (18-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) for the light heavyweight title in the main event at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

The oddsmakers have it a close fight at the many different online sports books. But by and large, it’s Johnson with a small edge, and the champ as a small underdog.

Johnson thinks it ought to be switched, though.

Anthony Johnson

“I see myself as the underdog,” Johnson said today after a workout at KeyBank Center. “Overall, I never pay attention to the odds. I think it’s absolutely crazy the odds have me as the favorite. I don’t gamble – if I do, it’s the penny (slot) machines. That’s the most you’re getting out of me.”

It’s also an intriguing betting line given the first time the two fought, at UFC 187 nearly two years ago for then then-vacant 205-pound title, Cormier won with a third-round submission.

But since then, Johnson has three straight knockouts – including a 13-second decimation of former title challenger Glover Teixeira. Those three KOs are why Cormier believes he’s the underdog.

“People fall in love with the knockout,” Cormier said. “The way Anthony’s looked, I can see it. But just remember: Last fight, I was the underdog, too.”

Daniel Cormier

Still, Johnson finds it an abnormality. And it’s something that doesn’t happen often, a champion being the underdog – but has come up, including recently.

When Stephen Thompson had his rematch with welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 209, he was favored – same as he was in their first fight at UFC 205.

“Obviously, people see something in me that they truly believe in me, and I thank them for that,” Johnson said. “But I see it as, ‘This dude’s the champion.’ When is the champion ever going to be an underdog? That’s highly unlikely to happen. Thank you to everyone who believes in me. I believe in me, too, so we’re on the same page.

“It’s almost like a slap in the face to Daniel. But hey, it is what it is.”

For more on UFC 210, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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