While UFC 155 helped clear things up a bit in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight division, it muddled up the title picture at 205 pounds.
With Cain Velasquez reclaiming the UFC’s heavyweight title with his dominant performance against Junior dos Santos (he won a lopsided unanimous decision), Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner, Daniel Cormier, will likely move down to the light-heavyweight division.
A close friend and teammate of Velasquez (both train at American Kickboxing Academy), Cormier (10-0-0, 6 KOs) indicated prior to UFC 155 that he’d probably drop down to the light-heavyweight division if Cain emerged victorious against dos Santos.
UFC president Dana White said he won’t try to sway Cormier either way, but he’s open to giving the Strikeforce Grand Prix winner an automatic title shot if he decides to drop down to the 205-pound division.
“I have so much respect for both of those guys,” White said, per MMAjunkie.com. “They can go wherever they want. If they want to fight each other at heavy, I’m cool with that. If [Cormier] wants to go to 205, I’m cool with that. Either way, [Cormier] is going to bring a lot of excitement to the heavyweight or light heavyweight division, and he could be next in line to fight [Jon] Jones.”
Interesting comments from White, considering the fact Alexander Gustafsson earned a shot at the light-heavyweight division’s title with his win against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at “UFC on Fox 5.” However, Shogun exposed some holes in Gustafsson’s game during their three-round encounter, so putting the Swede against Jones anytime in the near future probably won’t be a good idea.
Even though Daniel Cormier has never fought under the UFC’s banner, he’s clearly established himself as one of the top heavyweights in MMA right now. Ideally, giving “Black Fedor” a tune-up fight at 205 pounds before giving him a title shot would make more sense, but it’s easy to understand why the UFC would want to put him inside the Octagon against Jones right away, considering how much momentum Daniel has at the moment.
Besides, Cormier is a bigger threat to Jon Jones’ reign than Gustafsson.
If Daniel Cormier is able to safely make the weight cut to 205 pounds, he has all the tools needed to give Jones a serious test. He’s one of the few people who can deal with Jones’ incredible wrestling, and he’s more than capable of hurting Jones with a big shot.
It might rub some MMA fans the wrong way, but the fact is: Cormier has earned the right to automatically become the number-one contender in the light-heavyweight division.
Whether he’ll be able to make the weight cut is a completely different story, as Cormier had some complications while trying to cut down to 211 pounds during the 2008 Olympics.
Daniel will also have to get past Dion Staring at the final Strikeforce fight card set for Jan 12, at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. The matchup strongly favors Cormier on paper, but it’s never wise to rule out an experienced veteran like Staring.
Jones is currently set to fight opposing “Ultimate Fighter” season 17 coach, Chael Sonnen, on April 27, so a bout between the two won’t be possible until the latter half of 2013.