There are three people currently ranked above Daniel Cormier in the official Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight rankings. What do all three of them have in common?
They've already fought Jon Jones.
While none have proved victorious, Alexander Gustafsson (No. 1) will get another chance to pull the sword from the proverbial stone when he tries to break "Bones" at the UFC 177 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Aug. 30, 2014 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And pass or fail, Daniel Cormier will be waiting.
But from the sound of it, "DC" is expecting Jones to retain, after calling him out last Sat. night at UFC 173 on the heels of a spectacular performance over mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Dan Henderson, who was beat up, taken down and eventually choked out by the former heavyweight.
It was, quite simply, a one-sided ass kicking.
That's likely to bump Cormier up the light heavyweight ladder. While he may not overtake the injured Rashad Evans (No. 2) just yet, he will undoubtedly push past Glover Teixeira (No. 3) when the new rankings drop early next week. That's in addition to his perfect 15-0 record.
Keep in mind he also ran the table at heavyweight.
You can make the argument that Henderson is old, slow, or just too small for the 205-pound weight class in the new-look UFC. Perhaps all three? But we can't punish Cormier for the promotion's matchmaking and he did exactly what he needed to do.
Not just against "Hendo," but against every other combatant who tried to oppose him.
It also helps that he has a personal history with Jones, nearly coming to blows with his fellow wrestler at the 2011 World MMA Awards (more on that here). And it's probably a good time to mention that Cormier has refused to take another fight unless it's against Jones.
Can't say I blame him.
That said, we probably won't see him again until 2015 -- assuming Jones can get by "The Mauler" -- as the champ has slowed his frenetic pace. Fighting again before year's end would require a three-month turnaround, including a weight cut during the holidays.
The same would hold true if Gustafsson scores the upset.
Either way, Cormier has earned his spot. There were some lingering questions after his squash match against Patrick Cummins, but the way he mugged "Hendo" left little doubt that he's worthy of a light heavwyeight title shot. Can he actually follow through and win the title?
That remains to be seen.
For more on Cormier's win over Henderson click here. For complete UFC 173: "Barao vs. Dillashaw" results and live play-by-play click here.