In an action packed affair which actually lived up to the hype, Jon “Bones” Jones defeated previously unbeaten Daniel “DC” Cormier to win one of the greatest grudge matches in UFC history.
Jones (21-1) notched his eighth consecutive light heavyweight title defense at UFC 182 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena, defeating Cormier (15-1) via unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout for Jones as well as Blitzweekly.com, 49-46.
“I knew this fight would be an Ali-Frazier type of deal, and I knew I could beat him in the cardio department and in the championship rounds. That’s exactly what happened because you saw him starting to break,” Jones said after the fight. “He’s known to break and when you put it on him and don’t submit to his will. He slows down, and he did it to Cael Sanderson several times in college wrestling. Whenever someone faces him head up and comes at him like a man, he breaks.”
Cormier was a game challenger, however, and seemed to get the better of inside exchanges in the second round, also battling the champion through a competitive third.
Jones landed some scoring kicks to the head but was sent to the canvas by Cormier at the bell; the move perhaps winning him one of the rounds from one judge.
In the fourth round, Cormier was taken down twice within an 18-second span early in the round, and was beaten up by kicks and combinations until a final takedown by Jones at the bell. Jones’ three takedowns of Cormier in the fight are the first time the former two-time American Olympian wrestler has been taken down in his career.
After the win on Saturday, Jones mocked Cormier for his inability to take him down consistently.
“He’s only human,” Jones said. “DC, all the haters, all the crap he talked — he motivated me. I took him down, what, five takedowns to zero?”
The fifth was filled with more holding than action as referee Herb Dean allowed both fighters to stay clinched up nearly the entire round. Jones won the fifth round on a gas tank alone, pushing Cormier against the fence and landing short shots.
“I just couldn’t find my rhythm tonight,” Cormier said. “Jon is the best for a reason, and he was the better man tonight.”
While Cormier was looking for answers as he nearly broke down in tears, Jones put Cormier in his rear view window and put everyone on notice that the best is yet to come for the UFC pound-for-pound king.
“He kept saying he’s the “King of the Grind” leading up to fight, and I hope I proved tonight he isn’t because I am the “King of the Grind,” Jones said with an intense tone in the post-fight press conference. “I think being the greatest of all-time is very attainable, and I’m excited about this permanent move to Albuquerque to be able train in between fights and reach my full potential.”
Jones will likely turn his attention to the winner of a bout between Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson on January 24. Whoever is victorious will likely become the next fighter to challenge the man who has my vote for the greatest UFC champion of all-time.
Kendrick Johnson writes for a daily newspaper and is an independent print journalist and sports television reporter who has covered the NBA Finals, NFL, NCAA football, MLB, NHL, championship boxing and UFC Fights. He’s done numerous one on one interviews with some of the biggest names and personalities in sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kendrickjohnso