Daniel Cormier may have been the biggest test of Jon Jones’ MMA career, but the champ passed it with flying colors.
No Doubt About It
Cormier took Jones to the five round limit in the main event of UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Arena on Saturday night but when it was said and done, the belt remained on the waist of Jones who made his 8th successful title defense of the UFC light heavyweight champion. It was a thrilling fight but it wasn’t even close. All three judges had the champion winning four rounds to one with identical scores of 49-46 across the board. In the end, Cormier became just another stepping stone to Jones’ march towards becoming the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time.
Bones is Unbroken
Reported by The National, the MGM Grand Arena was filled with Cormier fans and Jones haters who wore T-shirts bearing the print “BREAK BONES”. It was supposed to be Cormier’s battlecry for the night as it has been since he unveiled the T-shirt design last July. But it was Jones who broke him down during the fight. Cormier had never a lost a round before in his whole MMA career and he had never been taken down a single time. But Jones took him down several times in the fight and won nearly every round in the bout. After Bruce Buffer read the decision, Jones was clearly overheard shouting “this team is unbroken” as he wore a black shirt with a gold print “UNBROKEN” written across it.
A tough Challenge
Cormier did almost everything he said he would do to Jones, except beat him
Like Alexander Gustafsson before him, Cormier took the fight to Jones early. But unlike Gustafsson, he never got to put Jones on his back even if he was supposed to be the better wrestler ( DC was a US Olympic wrestler) and the bigger guy ( DC used to fight as a heavyweight). Jones had a huge 12 inch reach advantage, but he didn’t use it most of the fight as he preferred to engage Cormier in a phone-booth war most of the way. But Jones was more effective as he landed a variety of strikes that included knees, elbows, shoulders and kicks that took Cormier off his rhythm. Cormier was able to land big shots on Jones, but the champ took them and dished out more of his own firepower.
By The Numbers
The fight was pretty much even after round two as Jones only outlanded Cormier 41-34 in significant strikes landed. But Jones took over in the championship rounds, allowing the challenger to connect on just seven significant strikes in the last two rounds while dishing out vicious punishment. At the end of five rounds, Jones landed a total of 126 strikes versus Cormier’s 78, including 92 total significant strikes ( DC had just 58 significant strikes). Jones took Cormier down three times in five tries while DC was credited for one take down ( in 8 tries) which Jones took less than two seconds to get up from. Aside from the takedowns, the big difference was the variation of the attack. Jones and Cormier were almost even in head strikes landed at 43-40 in favor of the champ. But Jones outstruck Cormier to the body (34-11) and with leg shots (15-7). He also dominated him from the distance (51-35) and surprisingly during clinches( 40-22). The numbers speak of Jones’ domination, not just of the fight but of the sport as well.
Jones is currently the number one pound for pound best fighter in the sport, and he may be more than that. While many say that Anderson Silva is the GOAT in MMA, Jon Jones clearly has a lot to say about that. Forget that Cormier and his detractors call him a “fake” or arrogant. He may be both, but that doesn’t take away the fact that he’s faced the best of the best in his division and has literally cleaned it up. Jones will likely face the winner of the Alexander Gustafsson-Anthony Johnson bout on January 24, that is if he remains in the weight class. Jones has long said of his plans to move up to heavyweight once he cleans up his division. He’s done so, Gustafsson’s claim notwithstanding. If Daniel Cormier can’t take him down on his back, Cain Velasquez may not be able to do so either. If that’s the case, then Jones has a good shot at matching up with Cain for the Heavyweight title. Weren’t experts talking about this superfight years back? It may be about to happen, as Jones continues his forward march to being the greatest ever.