get ready to rumble | anthony “rumble” johnson for espn the mag

BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson does drills with trainers Dareick Barr (red shirt) and Jake Bonacci (black shirt) during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)      BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson spars with Linton Vassell during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)      BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – Shadows play on the wall during the training for MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson  for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson takes a break to check out Ferraris and Lambos with salesman Jacob Ghanem at Domani Motor Cars during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)      BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)      BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson listens to tips from instructor Neil Melanson during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson spars with Carlos Zevallos during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)      BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)      BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson does drills with trainers Dareick Barr (red shirt) and Jake Bonacci (black shirt) during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson listens to tips from instructor Neil Melanson during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)      BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson shares a laugh with his manager Glenn Robinson during a late night cheat meal at Longhorn Steakhouse during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)      BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)      BOCA RATON, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – MMA fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson spars with Israel Adesanya during training for his upcoming match against Jon Jones - who was replaced by Daniel Cromier after Jones' legal issues - at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Chip Litherland for ESPN the Magazine)

 

Always fun when an photo editor emails you and asks if you can take a punch.  I don’t.  I do, however, know how to curl up into a ball and cry, which is what would happen if I did actually step into the ring with this guy.  MMA fighter Anthony “Rumble” Johnson let ESPN the Mag and myself follow him for a couple days in preparation for UFC 187 in Vegas this Friday.

Normally this kind of shoot would be just him training doing his thing, but we happened to be with him when the whole Jon Jones hit-and-run story broke.  It was admirable how this guy took the news and continued his intense training even tough he had no idea what was going to happen with Jones and his chance to win the take the belt away from the best in the business.  He eventually found out that the belt would be stripped and he would be fighting a completely different styled fighter.

Some who know my work will gasp that these are in black-and-white, but for me I like the texture and tones that come through when converted.  Little details like sweat on skin or highlights on chains and equipment aren’t overpowered but mixed lighting in the gym.  It’s more about showing the small things in this guy’s training and sometime you just have to ditch what you normally do to make it work – kind of like what Johnson is having to do to prepare for Daniel Cromier and his chance to be on top after his return to the UFC.

The awesome four-page layout and color images are below and in my Photoshelter archive:  http://chiplitherland.photoshelter.com/gallery/Anthony-Rumble-Johnson-UFC-187-training/G0000pCtSQi44d8w

anthony johnson one (1)anthony johnson one

 

 

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