The rematch between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will take place at UFC 197 on April 23rd, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC officials confirmed the matchup last weekend after finalizing the venue. The UFC initially wanted to book the event at Madison Square Garden in New York, Jones’ home state, where MMA is illegal. But after they were unable to secure the necessary injunction within the state, the UFC decided to book it at the MGM Grand Arena.
The Jones-Cormier UFC Light Heavyweight title bout will headline the event while a second title fight between flyweight king Demetrious Johnson and Olympian Henry Cejudo will serve as its co-main event.
Hard To Look At Posters
Shortly after the official announcement of the rematch, Jon Jones said it was hard to look at the UFC 197 posters because “his belt” is hanging on the shoulders of the man he defeated at UFC 182. Although Jones beat Cormier handily during their first meeting, he will be the challenger to D.C. in this rematch because the UFC stripped him of the title and suspended him indefinitely following his involvement in a hit-and-run accident in April 2015. Cormier won the title later that year by beating Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and has since defended it once against Alexander Gustafsson. But with Jones’ reinstatement last October, the former champ has been aching to get his gold back. Now he has a date.
Dictating The Terms
Although the rematch between the two was inevitable, Cormier didn’t want to fight Jones in New York, saying as “champion, it was his decision where the fight would be held. Jones and his camp also wanted to dictate the negotiations according to their terms but in the end, Cormier got his wish not to fight in New York while Jones got his wish of getting an immediate opportunity to reclaim the title he never lost inside the Octagon. The question now is how both fighters have changed since their first meeting.
Different Fight, Same Result?
During their first fight, Jones closed the betting lines at -170 while Cormier was a close +150. But after Jones’ rather easy dispatching of D.C., oddsmakers have installed him as a big favorite at -340 against D.C’s +260 when the lines opened. The reason is because while Cormier has fought twice since their meeting and won both times, he hasn’t shown anything different as a fighter.
Cormier says he knows where he went wrong in the first fight and will make the adjustments at UFC 197. D.C. has always been known for his wrestling and stamina but against an elite striker like Jones who has a massive height and length advantage over him, he could be in trouble. Cormier easily controlled Anthony Johnson and negated Rumble’s power by taking him to the ground but that was because Johnson isn’t really a big light heavyweight. Against the taller Gustafsson, a good striker who gave Jon Jones a scare during their bout, Cormier had all sorts of trouble before pulling off a close shave split decision victory.
Jones’ Edge and Driving Problems
Jones carries a 5-inch height advantage and a 12-inch reach advantage over Cormier and that’s easily the biggest factor in this match. Experts aren’t even acknowledging Jones’ ring rust, considering that he hasn’t fought since January 3rd, 2015. Jones has been training like a mad man and has been lifting weights like he’s planning to throw Cormier around the ring like a rag doll.
Jones was recently flagged for driving without license and insurance but officials said the incident won’t affect his current probation. Will continued distractions like this pile up and affect Jones’ preparations? That remains to be seen but should be one factor to be considered.