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UFC 210 fight card: Daniel Cormier vs Anthony Johnson 2 preview

MMA: UFC 187-Johnson vs Cormier Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight rivals Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson will clash TONIGHT (April 8, 2017) at UFC 210 inside KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.

It’s been quite some time since Cormier has actually put his title on the line. Nine months removed from his last fight — a non-title bout — “DC” will have to maintain top form in his return bout later this evening. Meanwhile, Johnson has been fighting rather consistently. He’s also been consistently knocking the hell out of anyone willing to meet him in the cage. His last bout with Cormier may not have gone his way, but Johnson has a chance to avenge that loss in his second title shot.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Daniel Cormier
Record: 18-1
Key Wins: Anthony Johnson (UFC 187), Alexander Gustafsson (UFC 192), Josh Barnett (Strikeforce: Barnett vs Cormier), Anderson Silva (UFC 200)
Key Losses: Jon Jones (UFC 182)
Keys to Victory: Cormier has developed into a well-rounded fighter, but his Olympic wrestling background still carries him to most of his victories. Aside from dominating on the mat, Cormier excels in the clinch.

Seeing as how Cormier defeated Johnson not all that long ago, his path to victory is fairly obvious. Neither man has changed all that dramatically. They’ve improved, sure, but only along the same paths they were already headed at the time of the first bout.

With that in mind, Cormier needs to bait his opponent into swinging heavy. Johnson is a man quick to swing back when touched, and Cormier can use that to create takedown openings. After touching “Rumble” with a punch, Cormier should be ready to react with a shot.

Aside from that, Cormier needs to initiate wrestling exchanges whenever possible without getting sloppy. Forcing Johnson to wrestle will slow him down just like last time, and Cormier can earn a similar stoppage if he stymies his foe early.


Anthony Johnson
Record: 22-5
Key Wins: Alexander Gustafsson (UFC on FOX 14), Ryan Bader (UFC on FOX 18), Phil Davis (UFC 172), Glover Teixeira (UFC 202)
Key Losses: Daniel Cormier (UFC 187), Vitor Belfort (UFC 142)
Keys to Victory: “Rumble” has a strong argument as the most dangerous Light Heavyweight knockout artist in history, which is quite a feat considering the men who came before him. The junior college wrestling champion is a difficult man to take down, leaving foes stranded on their feet opposite his heavy hands.

In this rematch, Johnson must learn from his past mistakes. In the first fight, Johnson gave his opponent easy opportunities to get in on his hips. Even though Johnson’s defensive wrestling/scrambling was enough to recover from those bad positions early, it drained his gas tank quickly.

Aggressiveness arguably cost him the bout.

To avoid a similar fate, Johnson would be wise to let Cormier come to him. If he can maintain his stance and defend against early takedowns, his opponent is in a very uncomfortable position. Johnson doesn’t need to whip haymakers to end Cormier’s night. If he’s patient and remains composed, he stands a much better chance of finding the kill shot.

Bottom Line: The Light Heavyweight title is finally up for grabs again.

This is a very important bout for Cormier. If he succeeds here, he’s defended his title twice, which is a definite accomplishment on its own. Aside from that, a potential match up with Jimi Manuwa would probably be a pretty easy title defense compared to his other opponents.

Somewhere in the future, his real final test in Jon Jones awaits.

On the other hand, a loss messes up all those plans. Cormier is likely close to the end of his career, as he’s getting close to 40 and is no stranger to injuries. From interviews, it seems Cormier still wants his rematch with Jones more than anything else, but holding the title practically guarantees that the fight will happen at some point.

Assuming Jones ever gets his shit together.

As for “Rumble,” this is an absolutely huge fight for him. He’s no spring chicken either, and it only gets harder to earn title shots with each time he comes up short. If he’s unable to separate Cormier from his senses, his future is unclear moving forward.

Alternatively, a win earns Johnson the title he’s been seeking for some time. Johnson’s path through the MMA world has been both interesting and bizarre, but there’s no denying he’s the level of talent worthy of a title. If he can seize the strap, he definitely has a fair chance of holding onto it as well, as he’s already decimated a fair few of the top contenders.

At UFC 210, Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson will rematch in the main event. Which man will leave strapped with gold?

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