Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweights Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson went to war last night (May 23, 2015) at UFC 187 inside the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After failing in his quest to upset Jon Jones, Cormier found himself given a second opportunity against "Rumble." This was likely do-or-die for the former Olympian, as it would be a challenging task to climb back to the top.
Unbeaten as a light heavyweight, Johnson was looking to land another violent knockout. Plus, this was an opportunity for Johnson to end one of the best comeback stories in the sport's history in style.
Instead, the Blackzilian quit in a performance pretty similar to most of his welterweight losses.
Early on, Johnson was on fire. After an eye poke from the Olympian, "Rumble" landed a brutal overhand that sent Cormier down to the mat. However, Cormier survived and recovered well, ducking under a wild punch to move into the clinch.
While Cormier was not able to really finish a takedown, he stayed tight to his opponent and continued to wear him down. Johnson did an excellent job preventing the takedown finish, and whenever he did manage to break away, he scored with big punches and kicks. Still, Cormier hung tough in exchanges and landed his own punches as well.
Cormier controlled much of the first round, but Johnson definitely landed the harder shots.
Despite this, Johnson looked fairly shaken to start the second round. Again, Johnson scored with some early strikes -- and every single strike he threw was thunderous -- but Cormier caught a body kick. This time, Cormier finished the takedown and quickly moved into half guard.
For the rest of the round, Cormier abused his opponent. He threatened with the kimura a few times, opened "Rumble" up with an elbow, and then finished the round by passing into the side control.
It was dominant, and Johnson was absolutely exhausted.
Nonetheless, Johnson tried to get something started with punches and a high kick before slipping on an uppercut. Instead of trying to scramble back to his feet, Johnson shot in for a double and momentarily completed it. However, Johnson was far too tired to wrestle with Cormier for an extended period of time, as "DC" quickly reversed the position.
From the turtle position, Cormier slipped a forearm under the neck pretty easily. Johnson made a half-ass attempt to fight the hands, but Cormier soon adjusted and finished the choke.
Much like the title fight before it, this was a tale of conditioning and composure. Cormier stayed calm under some serious fire and then forced the fight into his area of expertise. Once there, Cormier wore his opponent down and utterly controlled him.
Overall, Cormier looked very good. He ate some shots, but Cormier avoided plenty and managed to get his wrestling game going early on. Additionally, he took advantage of Johnson's historically soft submission defense by continually threatening with his grappling.
After this fight, Cormier called out for a rematch with Jon Jones, and that's really the only bout that makes sense. Ryan Bader can tweet all he wants, but very few people want to see that fight. The only other option would be Alexander Gustafsson, but the Swede still hasn't returned to the win column after losing to "Rumble."
This was an incredibly disappointing showing by Anthony Johnson. He's more technical now, but this was exactly like his welterweight losses. After landing some big shots early, Johnson got wrestled, tired, and submitted.
This was a particularly tough night for the Blackzilians. Not only did both of their title challengers get finished, but they basically both quit. After a quick start, neither Belfort nor Johnson could handle their opponent's pressure, persistence, and grappling, so they sought a way out.
Not a good look.
At UFC 187, Daniel Cormier dispatched Anthony Johnson with his elite wrestling skills and pressure. Can the Olympian win his rematch with Jon Jones?
For complete UFC 187 "Cormier vs Johnson" results and play-by-play, click HERE!