Daniel Cormier will finally have the opportunity to legitimize his UFC Light heavyweight title against the man who is universally recognized as the best light heavyweight of all-time.
Jon Jones never lost the lightweight title inside the octagon. He got stripped of the belt because of his run-ins with the law. They have fought before at UFC 182 and Jones beat Cormier decisively by unanimous decision. A rematch had been set at UFC 197 but Cormier got hurt and Jones won the interim title against Ovince St. Preux.
The UFC set up a unification bout at last year’s iconic UFC 200 but Jones was pulled from the event after failing a drug test. He was subsequently suspended for one year because of the doping violation. With Jones reinstated, he will have the opportunity to get back what is rightfully his. To do that, he must beat a familiar foe. And so the rematch is set as the main event of UFC 214 on July 29, 2017 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Jon Jones is the youngest champion in the history of the UFC. Jones holds many records at 205 pounds including most wins, most consecutive and successful title defenses, longest winning streak and most career wins by submission. For several years, Jones stood as MMA’s best pound for pound fighter. That was before his personal troubles began.
Brushes With Law
Not counting the DUIs, Jon Jones had two major brushes with the law that led to his removal from the top of the light heavyweight mountain. In April 2015, he was stripped of the title after a felony hit and run incident led to him being arrested. The following year, Jones was pulled from UFC 200 three days before the event after testing positive for a banned substance during a pre-fight drug test. With all these behind him now, Jones looks to win back the belt that he believes is his.
While Jones was battling his demons, Daniel Cormier slowly carved out a niche for himself and became the UFC light heavyweight champion in Bones’ absence. The former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion has won four consecutive bouts since losing to Jon Jones at UFC 182, including two victories over Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson.
Despite having the belt, Cormier’s title reign has has an asterisk. That’s because while he succeeded Jones as champion, he never beat the man in the first place. In fact, Cormier lost convincingly to Jones in their only meeting thus far. At UFC 214, Cormier has the opportunity to prove his doubters wrong and show the world that he truly is light heavyweight champ.
Jones is the favorite here at -250 and Cormier the betting underdog at +200. During their first bout at UFc 182, Bones was also favored by oddsmakers at -240 while Cormier was at +145. The reason we brought that up is because there isn’t really going to be too much difference between this fight and the previous one.
More Diverse Striker
Daniel Cormier is an excellent wrestler as he was an All-American and an Olympic alternate in college. His best weapons will always be his wrestling and grappling. He is most comfortable when the fight is on the ground. Three of his last five wins have been by rear naked choke so there is some development in his game. But as they say, you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks. DC will always be a wrestler and that will not work against Jones.
Jones is a superb striker and the much more diverse one compared to Cormier. Given his five inch advantage in height and one foot advantage in reach, it’s going to be a picnic out there if Cormier doesn’t take Jones down and if Jones starts to find his range. Cormier’s problems begin with Jones takedown defense though. The former champ has a 94% takedown defense which might be too good for DC’s surprisingly low 46% takedown accuracy.
Statistically, Jones even has the advantage in takedowns at 2.26 per fifteen minutes. On the other hand, the better wrestler Cormier is only at 1.92 over that period. With Cormier’s takedown defense only at 78%, there is a chance that Jones is even going to land some takedowns against the champ. Jones has the better submission average than DC at 0.6 to 0.4.
Jones can beat Cormier whichever way he wants to fight. That’s why it’s going to be tough to bet against Jon Jones. Sure, the long layoff tells you that he may be rusty but for an elite level athlete like him, there’s no such thing as ring rust. Jon Jones looks in fantastic shape at his training camp. That’s going to be the least of his worries. We’re picking Jones to win this by unanimous decision, just like the first bout. And with the victory should come the end of this rivalry. Jones is simply better than Cormier.