UFC President Dana White said on Sirius XM in November 2016 that former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones would never headline a main card again (h/t MMA Fighting’s Dave Doyle). But here we are, just two days away from UFC 214 and the most anticipated rematch in the company’s history.
It can be argued that UFC 202’s rematch featuring Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz had more hype surrounding the fight, but Daniel Cormier vs. Jones II has taken bad blood to a whole new level. The two best 205-pound fighters in the world can’t stand the sight of one another and have gone after each other both inside and outside of the Octagon.
For Cormier, UFC 214 in Anaheim, California, is much more than a title defense; it’s his legacy on the line. The only man he has lost to will be on the opposite side of the cage, looking to take back the belt he never lost due to the outcome of a fight.
Jones’ checkered past has been well-documented, as has his rise from the ashes. But Cormier, even with successful title defense over Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson, needs to prove himself as the true champion of the light heavyweight division by beating Jones.
If he doesn’t succeed, his legacy will always have an asterisk next to it, with many UFC fans referring to him as a “fake champion.”
Fair or not, that is Cormier’s reality. For Jones, a win puts him back on the map after suspensions and incidents that occurred outside of the cage.
The stage is set for history to be made. And Saturday night can’t come soon enough.
Cormier vs. Jones II: UFC 214 Odds to Win
Cormier: +200 (bet $10 for $20 win)
Jones: -260 (bet $10 for $5 win)
Here’s a surprise: Cormier and Jones talk a lot of trash to one another. And in case you’ve been living under a rock, they really, really don’t like each other.
But just to jog your memory, here’s a compilation of Cormier and Jones facing off against each other over the years:
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) July 27, 2017
The time for fighting is now. There can only be so much trash talk that two fighters can hurl at each other. Isn’t that right, McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
Fight week’s media obligations will keep both fighters’ blood boiling heading into Saturday night, and it didn’t take long for Cormier and Jones to start going at it on Wednesday during the pre-fight press conference:
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) July 26, 2017
There was, however, one tidbit of information that came out of Wednesday’s shouting match, which was the revelation that Cormier underestimated Jones’ wrestling skills the first time they fought back in 2015.
Cormier, an accomplished collegiate and Olympic wrestler, had never been taken down inside of the Octagon until he grappled with Jones, who made the current champion look like a novice. Yesterday, Cormier admitted that he didn’t try hard enough in the clinch to get Jones off of him, which cost him dearly.
Whether that’s just an excuse as to why Jones dominated the fight two years ago remains to be seen. At least Cormier will have UFC 214 to prove himself right.
UFC 214 Prediction
It makes sense to pick Jones in the rematch. After all, he has never lost, with the exception of a controversial disqualification from using illegal elbows against Matt Hamill in the Ultimate Fighter Finale back in 2009. He has proved he can beat Cormier and he looks to be in the best physical shape of his life.
Having said that, I’m going with Cormier: The current, undisputed champion.
Jones is only 30-years-old and can still make up for lost time, but his fight against Ovince Saint Preux in April 2016 was bad. Like really bad. Sure he got the decision victory, but he did little to prove himself to the UFC and his fans that he was truly back. He even admitted after the fight inside of the Octagon that he wasn’t fighting like his old self.
Maybe that’s because the old Jones is long gone.
Time away from the sport, regardless how much a fighter continues to train, takes its toll. Ronda Rousey took time away from the cage after her fight against Holly Holm and was dismantled in her return against Amanda Nunes. Dominick Cruz came back successfully to regain his belt after a long time away from the fight game, but did he look 100 percent against Cody Garbrandt? Of course, Cruz had injuries to come back from, but the cage rust was real.
The jury is still out on Georges St-Pierre upon his return, but something tells me that he won’t be able to keep up with the ever-evolving world of MMA.
Jones has only had one competitive fight since beating Cormier, and that was a less-than inspiring performance against OSP. Has the world’s most talented fighter wasted his prime years? I think he has. And i think Cormier will show the world what he saw in Jones against OSP in 2016, and that’s a shell of his former self.
Look for Cormier to bring the fight to Jones this time around and take him down early and often. Cormier isn’t giving any respect to Jones Saturday night, nor should he.
Cormier will make Jones’ life inside the cage a five round, 25-minute nightmare until the fight ends with Cormier getting his hand raised with a unanimous-decision victory, cementing his legacy as one of the best light heavyweight/heavyweights in combat history.
Source : www.bleacherreport.com