Jon Jones Vs. Daniel Cormier has been a tense affair throughout promotion of UFC 182.
From “that” press conference tussle, to tonight’s weigh-in, where both men scaled 205, this fight has grown into something more. A rivalry, like such, neither man likes the other and covets only their dismay.
There is another incentive on the line — Jones’ UFC Light Heavyweight championship. Jones has proven in wins over Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans, Glover Teixeira, and Alexander Gustafsson that it will take someone special to pull the title from his grip. Alexander Gustafsson might have outperformed Jones, but didn’t quite capitalize enough to take the belt in their bout last year. No one else has even flirted with the idea of taking it from him since he pried it from Lyoto Machida in 2011, but he did look jolted against the Swedish combatant.
Cormier’s smothering style of wrestling and ground n’ pound has broken many other talented fighters. In his MMA career, he hasn’t experienced a close call — and never lost a bout. Is that to his benefit or could it be his demise? We do know that Cormier has appeared explosive since making the weight cut to 205lbs, and will be ready to exert himself to the greatest lengths at the MGM Grand.
In that same token, Jones’ kickboxing is precise and deadly. The lanky, 6’4 Light Heavyweight’s body frame is difficult to work with on it’s own, but how well it facilitates his striking and submission ability is what raised him to this championship level. He fights with a humanly cavort yet ferocious strike of a beast; having fun with each bout, but doing what he must to take home a win.
Cormier isn’t necessarily the same. He likes to constrict his opponent, deprive him of his will, and bend him from his usual style of attack. He likes to win fights, but mends his fighting style to do so in a less receptive way. He wants to control the fight, not react to his opponent. That is where Cormier holds an advantage against Jon Jones — his ability to keep and maintain control of a tough bout.
It’s not pretty or even the most enjoyable for a television audience, but Cormier’s attack leaves the other man weak and vulnerable. A win, not impression, being the primary goal.
In the biggest night of his career, on the grandest stage, I expect Cormier to exact his will and suffocate Jon Jones, who will be forced to the ground and struggle to avoid defeat. I’m not one for predictions, but Cormier should be the favorite against a battle-tested Jon Jones. Because, in a championship fight, you always want to be in control. Jones has shown that he cannot always maintain control, and, against a fundamentally apt, if less talented, Cormier, that could be detrimental.
Don’t forget to check out David’s UFC 182 Predictions FightPicks shortly before the prelims start. Finished off 2014 up +20.27 units.