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UFC 182 preview: Fight Pass 'Rewind' for 'Jones vs Cormier'

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is about to end its mini hiatus as fight week is nearly upon us. With the mammoth UFC 182 pay-per-view (PPV) event set to go down next weekend, opted to re-watch a handful of bouts featuring both Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, delineating each man's strengths and weaknesses as it pertains to the monstrous title fight next Saturday.

Esther Lin

It is not often Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) puts arguably the biggest fight of the year on the very first card of said year, but that truly may be the case next Saturday (Jan. 3, 2015) at UFC 182.

In the main event of the evening, longtime UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will take on his stiffest test to date in the undefeated No. 1 contender Daniel Cormier.

Both men have done their due diligence to sell the fight with trash talk and a now infamous brawl. UFC has held up its end of the bargain as well, putting together some outstanding production pieces for next weekend's showdown.

With anticipation building just seven days out from their monumental title fight, opted to re-watch a few key fights, outlining important details that may affect next Saturday night's outcome.

Without further ado, here is the Fight Pass Rewind.

Jon Jones:

Jon Jones vs Lyoto Machida - UFC 140

In Jon Jones' second UFC title defense, "Bones" took on the enigma that is Lyoto Machida. After dispatching of both Mauricio Rua and Quinton Jackson, it was clearly evident that Jones had the ability to become a long reigning champion, but "The Dragon" was easily his toughest test up to that point.

After knocking out Randy Couture with a highlight-reel crane kick, Machida came into UFC 140 looking to re-earn his UFC title against arguably the greatest fighter in the sport today. It was a match-up that had a lot of pundits scratching their heads while attempting to pick a winner, and fans were absolutely giddy with excitement.

What ultimately occurred was one of the most violent and impressive finishes in UFC history as Jones choked Machida unconscious on the fence, and walked away as the former champion fell to a heap on the mat.

In relation to Jones' upcoming title defense against Cormier, this fight truly highlights the champ's impeccable striking at distance and ability to deal with adversity. With Machida lauded as one of the best counter-strikers in UFC history, Jones used his drastic reach advantage of about 10.5 inches in order to clip Machida from the outside where "The Dragon" could not hit him. In the Cormier fight, Jones will have a 12-inch reach advantage, so "DC" must close the distance on the champion early and often.

Machida's best success in the fight came while either lulling Jon to sleep on the feet and then pouncing, or countering Jones' leg kicks with big punches. "The Dragon" was arguably the first fighter in Jones' career to really put him in an adverse situation, but "Bones" dealt with the adversity extremely well en route to victory.

Considering Machida and Cormier's talent, I would expect to see "DC" put Jones in a few bad positions next weekend, but nowhere the champion has not been before.

Jon Jones vs Chael Sonnen - UFC 159

So you may ask why I chose to bring up Jones' arguably easiest title fight during his UFC reign, and I counter with the fact that Jones himself mentioned the Cormier fight reminds him of his fight against Chael Sonnen.

While Cormier is obviously a much stiffer test for Jones than Sonnen was, there are some very intriguing points to take away from the Jones vs Sonnen fight.

First of all, the pre-fight hype for UFC 159 was in many ways very similar to Cormier vs Jones. While a lot of the rivalry between Sonnen and Jones was manufactured by Sonnen's gift of gab and the editors for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Sonnen's trash talk undoubtedly bothered the champion in a way we had yet to see.

In similar fashion, Cormier has elevated his trash talking a la Sonnen in order to gain even a slight mental advantage over Jones. Unfortunately for "DC", his ploy is seemingly not working according to the champ himself.

As for the fight itself, Jones utterly dominated Sonnen en route to a vicious first round TKO victory, but the four minutes and 33 seconds of the fight could lend some insight to next weekend's mammoth title bout.

Sonnen was arguably the most decorated wrestler Jones had faced up to that point in his career, including his bout with Rashad Evans. With Sonnen notorious for taking the center of the Octagon and pushing the pace almost immediately, it was impressive to watch Jones play into Sonnen's game plan, and still dominate nonetheless.

In the pre-fight discussion, many believed Jones would stave off Sonnen's take down attempts and brutalize the former middleweight contender on the outside -- sounds like Jones vs Cormier, doesn't it? Instead, Jones clinched with Sonnen early and often, wearing him down on the fence before taking him down and finishing him.

It truly seemed that Jones was out to prove he could win a fight even while playing directly into his opponent's game plan. With Jones so confident in his ability to take down Cormier next weekend, will we see something similar to the Sonnen fight?

Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier vs Antonio Silva - Strikeforce: Barnett vs Kharitonov

Want to talk about height and reach advantage? Look no further than Cormier's bout against talented heavyweight Antonio Silva.

Silva, like Jones, is five inches taller than Cormier. Silva had a drastic reach advantage against Cormier as well at 9.5 inches -- which is still 2.5 inches shorter than Jones' reach advantage next weekend.

Now prior to breaking down Cormier's impeccable performance against Silva, it is very important to note that "Bigfoot" is nowhere near the level in the striking department that Jon Jones is. Furthermore, Silva is not exactly the prototypical fighter to watch in terms of using a reach advantage.

With that being said, Cormier put an absolute beating on Silva. As the commentators discussed Cormier's enormous wrestling advantage that would likely lead to Silva being forced to utilize his grappling prowess, "DC" nearly knocked "Bigfoot" out with the first overhand right he threw.

After letting the behemoth to his feet, Cormier showed off his sensational hand speed, simply outclassing the heavyweight in the striking department.

What was that about reach again?

This fight truly highlighted just how good Cormier can be, as he utilized his wrestling to keep the fight standing, his speed to avoid "Bigfoot's" power, and his own striking acumen to knock out a highly-respected veteran.

Can Cormier's speed shock Jones next weekend?

Daniel Cormier vs Dan Henderson - UFC 173

If speed kills, wrestling dominates.

Just how good is Daniel Cormier's wrestling? Look no further than his complete shellacking of sure-fire UFC Hall of Famer and lauded wrestler Dan Henderson.

While Jones is unimpressed by Cormier's victory over "50 year-old" (really 44 year old) Henderson, there is no question this fight highlights many of Comier's strengths heading into next weekend's title fight.

It only took 40 seconds before Cormier literally ragdolled Henderson with a picturesque hip toss to open up the first round, and that was a sign of things to come over the next 12 or so minutes.

While it is highly unlikely Cormier throws Jones around like he did to Henderson, this fight really proves just how elite Cormier's wrestling is. Re-watching this fight will certainly give you the idea that Cormier will come into UFC 182 with the definitive wrestling advantage at least on paper.

This fight did not really allow Cormier to show off his striking, but it did provide insight on his improved ground-and-pound and submissions. "DC" never gave Henderson a moment to breathe, whether he was raining down punches, putting on heavy top pressure, or attacking with chokes and arm locks.

Again, no one really expects Cormier to be able to hold Jones down in the same fashion he did to Henderson, but his complete and utter dominance is startling nonetheless.

If Cormier can mix up his striking and wrestling to confuse Jones throughout their title affair, "DC" will have a real opportunity to become the undisputed UFC light heavyweight champion.

We'll find out soon enough!

For more information on UFC 182, including the full fight card, results, news, and more, click here.

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