Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones face off for the second time at UFC 214 and it’s been a long time coming. Both men were set to face each other at UFC 182 and UFC 200 but with a string of violations from Jones, the fights were postponed, and we were kept in waiting. As a replacement, Anthony Johnson was called in on short notice to replace Jones and compete for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 187 against Cormier. Bigger, stronger, and more intimidating than Jones, Anthony Johnson had all the tools to beat Cormier. But it was ‘DC’ who came out victorious with a third round submission via rear naked choke. It was Cormier’s grinding pressure that he is so well known for which got him the victory. Johnson, who is known as a heavy hitter with incredible knockout power, had early success landing his shots in the first round, but as the fight progressed Johnson wasn’t able to land that power to on Cormier. That’s a relatively hard task considering Johnson had a 15cm reach advantage over Cormier.
Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson gave Jon Jones the biggest test of his career, leaving many believing he beat Jones at UFC 165. Gustafsson has fought both title holders, in two ‘Fight of the Night’ award winning fights. But it was ‘DC’ who seemed to take more control when they fought one another at UFC 192. Cormier once again proved his toughness and out-struck another opponent despite another significant reach disadvantage. He landed 89 more strikes than Gustafsson and 20 more significant strikes through the course of five rounds. Cormier’s bread and butter is the clinch game, it negates his reach disadvantages and opens up for his Olympic calibre wrestling. But why did he find it so hard to do to Jones what he has done against all of the opponents he has faced. Is Jon Jones’ defensive wrestling really this good? And is Jon Jones better in the clinch than Daniel Cormier? If you look at their first fight, then yes, Jones is better at Daniel Cormier in all of these aspects.
The First Time
The first time that Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier met each other, it was Daniel Cormier who was pushing the pace and trying to get in the pocket. Cormier had the most success doing so in the second round when he was landing uppercuts while using that world class wrestling clinch. Whenever Cormier wasn’t in the clinch with Jones, he was getting picked apart by Jones’ 12-inch reach advantage. Cormier’s lack of head movement made it even easier for Jones to find his target. As the fight progressed, the clinch game became more frequent and Jones seemed to get the better of the exchanges while stuffing Cormier’s takedown attempts; he even managed to take Cormier down three times, compared to Cormier’s one lone takedown.
So, the question remains: does Daniel Cormier have what it takes to beat Jon Jones? When they fight at UFC 214, it will be Jones’ first fight in 462 days. We will find out if the inactivity is a problem or if his assumed change in lifestyle habits will limit his performance. When Jones faced Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 197, a fight with another extended layoff of 476 days, Jones put in his worst performance in the octagon.
And for Daniel Cormier, will we see a grinding and solid-chinned ‘DC’, one who gets inside his opponent’s range, lands punches and secures takedowns? Or will we see Jon Jones stuff the takedown attempts and beat Daniel Cormier at his own game? Whatever the case, we’re in for a treat.
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