UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Not many humans on planet earth would eagerly jump at the opportunity to travel across continents to fight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson on seven days’ notice, but “Gugu” is an exception.
When Jose Augusto’s phone rang last Friday and the fight was offered, he didn’t think twice. He quickly accepted, boarded a plane, and arrived at Mohegan Sun for Bellator 258.
“No f*cking way,” Augusto told MMA Junkie on Wednesday, through a translator, when asked if he considered turning down a short-notice fight vs. former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Johnson.
Augusto (7-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) didn’t simply take the fight because as a chance to just show up and collect a check. He’s confident he will win, despite what the oddsmakers say. Augusto views the matchup as favorable and plans to shock the world when the two square off.
“That’s exactly the fight I want,” Augusto said. “He’s a guy that comes forward (with) aggressiveness. I’m also a striker. I can also catch him going forward. I can touch him on his chin and knock him out. This is exactly the fight that I want. There’s no better fighter to knock out than ‘Rumble.’”
“You’re going to see the new generation of MMA. In with the new, out with the old. … The Hall of Famers are going to be pushed out. The new generation is coming in. You’re going to see the upset of the century.”
It’s been a whirlwind year for the 29-year-old light heavyweight. In March 2020, he signed to fight for Dana White’s Contender Series. However, the ongoing global pandemic threw a monkey wrench in his plans when the season was pushed back and visa issues ensued.
From there, Augusto signed with Bellator, but travel papers continued to haunt him. Eventually, Bellator was able to work and get him an athlete exception for a visa. A former heavyweight, Augusto made his promotional and divisional debut April 2 at Bellator 255, when he submitted former UFC fighter Jonathan Wilson in Round 1.
Now scheduled against Johnson, Augusto enters the first round of the Bellator light heavyweight grand prix on the same side as the champion. Should he win Friday, Augusto will fight current titleholder Vadim Nemkov in what will be only his third promotional outing.
“I just have a lot of gratitude to be in this situation,” Augusto said. “It’s been three years since I got to the Pitbull Brothers in Natal, Brazil. I’m already, in my third fight, possibly fighting for the world title. I can only have gratitude in my heart for this situation.”
Bellator 258 takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena. The main card airs on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.