Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), much like it did at the UFC 187 pay-per-view (PPV) headliner back in 2015, sent Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson into battle to determine the promotion’s light heavyweight champion.
History has a funny way of repeating itself.
“DC” was able to submit “Rumble” after a wild couple of rounds their first time out, and pretty much replicated that performance when they ran it back in the UFC 210 main event last night (Sat., April 8, 2017) inside KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.
Our complete results and live play-by-play right here.
Johnson came out like a power-punching monster, something that mixed martial arts (MMA) fans were used to seeing, with the kind of aggressive attack that previously led “Rumble” to three straight knockout victories.
Unfortunately for the ex-welterweight, he wasn't able to intimidate “DC” with his heavy hands and succumbed to the better wrestler, who used a tried-and-true combination of grappling and cage work to retain his 205-pound strap.
The tap came at 3:37 of the second stanza.
Once the dust settled and the smoke cleared, Johnson shocked the combat sports world by announcing his retirement from UFC to pursue interests outside the Octagon (more on that here). Cormier, meanwhile, clomped around the cage amid a chorus of boos to jaw with both Jimi Manuwa and Jon Jones.
The former is poised to make his first run at the division title while the latter is hoping to rematch Cormier when his drug-test suspension expires in July. Who gets the first crack at the light heavyweight crown remains to be seen, as the champion may have suffered a broken nose during last night’s fight.
Either way, Cormier’s victory will do little to resurrect a flatlining weight class.
Most fans, present company included, were hoping to see Johnson prevail, if for no other reason than to watch him tangle with “Bones.” Heck, even with a loss, the promotion could have booked Cormier vs. Manuwa and Johnson vs. Jones, which may explain why both 205-pounders were cageside.
I guess “Rumble” — just 33 years old — wasn’t kidding when he said his pending retirement was a secret.
Cormier vs. Jones 2 is probably on deck, but I didn't see anything in their first fight that would compel me to watch the sequel. Jones was simply better, and cruised to a unanimous decision victory at UFC 182.
Elsewhere in the division, Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira will collide for a spot in the light heavyweight title chase (details), though it should be noted that both “Mauler” and his Brazilian counterpart were previously knocked out by Johnson.
And both dropped decisions to Jones.
That’s the big story coming out of UFC 210. Cormier is champion of a division desperate for something new and exciting. That something could have been “Rumble,” but it’s clear that he was not as interested in his UFC future as we were.
I guess we’ll have to settle for the next best thing?