It certainly feels like Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier is one of the more, highly anticipated fights in recent history, and not just because of their well documented beef, but because of what the challenger brings to the table.
In Cormier, Jones will have to face an Olympic level wrestler, who is ridiculously strong and athletic, that has developed a pretty nasty striking game as well. In addition, Cormier has gone 15-0 since he transitioned into MMA, and has defeated some pretty big names along the way. So, if that doesn’t sound like the resume of someone who’s a legitimate threat to the throne, then what does?
Now sure, critics will point out that the UFC pumped up the ‘greatest threat yet’ narrative when Jones was set to fight Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira as well. “Bones” was definitely pushed to his limits by Gustafsson, but he cruised through Texieira and remains the champ.
While it remains to be seen if Cormier can deliver on the hype that’s following him, it would truly be a crazy way to start off 2015, if the storied reign of Jones comes to an end at UFC 182. “DC” appeared on the latest edition of “UFC Tonight“, and when asked what will change about Jones if Cormier wins, he stated (quote via FOX Sports 1 press release):
“I think he falls back in the pack. He’ll get a rematch, but he’ll fall back. Once he knows he can get beat and no one is scared of him, he won’t win ten in a row anymore. He’ll win some and he’ll lose some. He’ll go searching for answers and move to heavyweight. It’ll put doubt and questions in his head. He’ll come out a different man. He might need to be convinced to take the rematch. He’ll lose to me and his career will go in a tailspin. I’m looking to rid MMA of Jon Jones.”
Huh. Now sure, Cormier could just be messing with Jones’ mind by making this argument, as considering the abilities of the champ, it’s hard to imagine him free falling down the ranks.
There is something to be said, however, about losing an air of invincibility. Jones definitely lost some of that after his bout with Gustafsson, as prior to that, the champion hadn’t really taken much punishment in any of his fights (aside from his mangled toe against Chael Sonnen of course).
UFC 182 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in January 2nd, and it will be available in North America via pay-per-view.