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Anthony Johnson grateful for smaller MMA companies

Anthony Johnson received his big break early in his career. Fresh off an unsuccessful tryout for "The Ultimate Fighter," Johnson impressed Ultimate Fighting Championship's management enough that Johnson was selected as an injury replacement to fight Chad Reiner in 2007.

Johnson did not squander the chance; he knocked out Reiner in just 13 seconds to improve to 4-0.

Johnson's quick rise as a middleweight was doused, however, when Johnson lost to Rich Clementi in his second UFC bout.

Over the next few years, Johnson's career stalled as he failed to make weight in numerous UFC fights and he was eventually released from the promotion.

Johnson, who now competes as a light heavyweight (205 pounds), received another chance. He fought twice for Titan Fighting Championship and recently signed with the World Series of Fighting, where he will compete on its first card on Nov. 3.

With the UFC controlling much of the market share, Johnson is grateful the smaller companies are giving fighters another chance at success.

"I think it's great that we have all these different companies coming along because there's so much talent out there and so many guys are overlooked because they get one shot at the big time and then they didn't have a fight and get cut or something happened business-wise," said Johnson, a 28-year-old Georgia native.

"I think it's great that we have all these different companies out there that are actually willing to give the guys an opportunity so you can make money and make this their career and their job instead of fighting in really small shows and making $2,000 to $3,000 a fight. That's not how everybody wants to live when you're fighting every four to five months and you're only getting only $2,000 to $3,000."

Johnson, who signed a three-fight deal with the WSF, will compete against D.J. Linderman (14-3) on the card.

"He's not a ground guy, and I'm not really a ground guy either," said Johnson, 13-4. "I plan on it being a slugfest. If he wants to make it a slugfest with me, then there's a 90 percent chance he's going to lose. If he wants to take his chances with that 10 percent chance of him really winning that stand-up war, then more power to him."

The World Series of Fighting, headed by president and former fighter Ray Sefo, will have its events carried by the NBC Sports Channel.

New York Sports