Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweightsand finally came to blows last night (Sat., Jan. 3, 2015) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Still a fairly young combatant, Jones entered last night's bout with one of the most incredible resumes in the sport's history. Against the most highly decorated wrestler in the division, Jones looked to once again overcome a tough challenger with apparent ease.
Meanwhile, Cormier repeatedly mentioned prior to this bout that he would not be bullied, inside or out of the cage. In addition, the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) representative wanted to bring the Bay Area-based gym its second UFC title holder.
Though he was looking to meet his equal, "Bones" was clearly the superior fighter.
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The first round was quite a start to an overall epic battle. Early on, Jones caught one of Cormier's kicks and turned it into a slam takedown. Though Cormier was quick to return to his feet, the message was clear: Jones intended to wrestle.
For the rest of the round, the two men traded heavy strikes. On the outside, Jones landed heavy kicks and dug punches to the body, which would be important later. However, Cormier had some strong moments of his own, working into the clinch and digging shots of his own.
It may have been close, but Jones took the opening frame.
"DC" came into the second round with a vengeance. Jones may have landed some hard elbows on the inside, but Cormier's uppercuts from the single-collar tie earned him the round. As Cormier's corner said, this was exactly the dog fight that Cormier desired.
However, Jones adapted quite well in the third round. It was still a phone booth battle inside the clinch, but Jones was able to land the harder shots of the pair. In addition to his elbow strikes, Jones kept landing some hard knees to the body, further depleting Cormier's gas tank.
To his credit, this was a close round, as Cormier landed plenty of his own shots.
Cormier's harsh pace and Jones' repeated body shots caught up to "DC" hard. Though Jones had the option to separate against the now-fatigued Cormier, "Bones" continued to engage his foe in the clinch.
From there, Jones kept mixing shots to the head and body. He even throw angled kicks to his opponent's knees from this position. Most importantly, Jones landed about three takedowns, showing his dominance over the former Olympian.
Cormier looked to begin the fifth round with a quick takedown, but Jones stuffed it. From there, Jones forced his opponent into the fence and looked for takedowns for quite some time. While "DC" was on the defensive, Jones landed decent shots and controlled the bout.
Though Cormier landed a brief -- like a half-second of control -- takedown in the fifth, it was largely uneventful until the end of the fifth. As Cormier pursued a high crotch with under 10 seconds left, Jones raised his arms in victory. Cormier -- likely thinking the fight was over -- released the grip, allowing Jones to land a pretty solid left hook. Cormier, pissed off, swung back but only hit Herb Dean in his combination.
Overall, it was a strong performance for the champion. He went into his opponent's strong suit as usual against the biggest specialist of his career and still came away with the belt.
That's beyond impressive.
Maybe it wasn't the best game plan, but Jones out-wrestled an Olympian. Since Jones is all about establishing his legacy, this might just be the best way to do it.
For Jones' next title defense, he should get the winner ofand .
Cormier put on a valiant performance and pushed a hard pace through the first three rounds. However, he couldn't maintain it -- perhaps due to age or body type -- and suffered pretty badly late.
At 35 years old, it will be pretty tough for Cormier to earn another shot at "Bones." Plus, it would be mentally difficult to prepare for Jones again, considering how the young champion out-wrestled Cormier. That's a tough pill to swallow for such a credentialed wrestler.
If Cormier chooses to remain at light heavyweight -- perhaps he'll return to heavyweight or attempt to drop to middleweight (highly unlikely) -- a match up with the loser ofand would be an interesting match up.
At UFC 182, Jon Jones defended his UFC title once again in impressive fashion. Can Jones secure his status as the greatest of all time?
For complete UFC 182 "Jones vs Cormier" results and play-by-play, click HERE.