Anthony “Rumble” Johnson was an underdog against Phil Davis in his return to the UFC. Critics pointed to his limited experience in the division and Davis’ long career there. Davis was the fourth ranked light heavyweight in the UFC’s official rankings, Johnson #12.

None of it mattered when Johnson stepped in the cage tonight in Baltimore.

Over three grueling rounds, the man they call “Rumble” handed Davis an ugly beating en route to a unanimous decision victory.

Johnson defended every takedown from the former collegiate wrestling standout, countering with hard punching combinations. Davis was bloodied by the end of the first stanza and, for the first time in his storied MMA career, was never really in the fight.

As the bout wore on, Johnson looked increasingly relaxed, hitting head kicks and switching from southpaw to orthodox stances for punches to the head and body. An uppercut landed all night as well.

The announcers described Johnson a new contender in the division. This time, they were right.

At UFC 172, Anthony Johnson defeated Phil Davis by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).