By: Chris Wehner
For those of you readers who are big UFC/MMA fans then UFC 214 is quite the early Christmas present. Headlined by a fight that has been scheduled 5 times since 2010 but shockingly has only come to fruition once, tonight’s battle between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship has all the makings to be dubbed “Fight of the Year”. And with so much drama and build-up that has led to DC/JJ 2 the expectations couldn’t be higher.
Daniel Cormier (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) is heading into tonight’s fight against Jones with quite the burden on his shoulder. Cormier, whose only loss in the UFC came at the hands of Jones back in 2015, is looking to avenge that very loss against his most hated rival. DC, 38, a former Olympic wrestler from 2003-2007, is well-regarded as one of/if not the best wrestlers in the UFC to date. But after having dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career (which included a leg injury that forced him out of UFC 197 title defense against Jones) is father-time catching up with the aging Cormier?
On the other side of the Octagon you have 30 year old Jon Jones (22-1 MMA, 16-1 UFC) Jones, who’s UFC career had been plagued with seemingly yearly run in’s with the authorities since 2008 and allegations of doping and steroid use, one of which included a failed test on June 16th which forced Jones to not only be pulled from UFC 200, but also included a one-year suspension from the United States anti-doping agency which ended a few weeks ago on July 6, 2017.
In their first meeting between the two at UFC 182, the judges’ scores were 49-46 in favor of Jones, who for the eighth time successfully defended his belt. In the first round, Jones (with his ridiculous 7 foot wingspan) mixed in his usual elbows, kicks and punches to take control of the round against Cormier. But heading into rounds 2 and 3, Cormier looked to take control of the bout with his signature wrestling take-downs and vicious uppercuts, but an un-penalized eye poke by Jones helped him re-take control of the fight and seemed to take the wind out of DC’s sails. The fourth and fifth rounds were anything but ordinary especially as the fifth round came to an end, as Jones looked to cheap-shot DC in which Cormier responded with a fury of uppercuts hitting Jones and almost catching referee Herb Dean as well.
After a build-up to this fight which included several incidents between both teams camps, and a hotel fight at the presser in Aug. of 2014, the fight definitely exceeded expectations. But as in any fight, you have your winner and you have your loser. And on that night Cormier came up short. Fast forward to tonight at UFC 214, Jones who hasn’t fought competitively in 2 years and DC whose aging body seems to be barely holding together, you can expect fireworks right off the bat. Personally, if Cormier can be the aggressor and exploit Jones’ weaknesses which includes his overconfidence of not taking opponents sometimes seriously, and also control the wrestling and ground game then I’m giving the W to Cormier. But, if Jones can use his 84.5 reach (longest in the UFC) and his unorthodox blend of boxing and Muay Thai, well then Cormier could be in for a world of hurt.
Photo: (Ester Lin MMA Fighting)