UFC 182: Daniel Cormier Is The Biggest Challenge Of Jon Jones Career
I know you've heard this over and over and over again throughout the past few years, but Jon Jones truly faces the biggest challenge of his mixed martial arts career, when he puts the light heavyweight championship on the line against undefeated and former Strikeforce champion, Daniel Cormier at UFC 182.
Jon Jones has proven without a doubt, that he is the real deal. He has taken on and defeated some of the best mixed martial artists in the world. His resume of victories reads like a who's who of the MMA world. Stephan Bonnar, Brandon Vera, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Lyoto Machida, Rampage Jackson, Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans, Glover Texeiera, & Alexander Gustaffson. From the very beginning of Jones ascent up the light heavyweight ranks, there was always talk about how he was a "hype train", and whoever he faced next would be his "biggest test", which he always seemed to pass with flying colors. With the caliber of opponents that Jones has defeated, it's not so easy to say that he's a hype train anymore, and it's not even easy to say that any fighter he faces today is his biggest test...well, until now.
Even after facing two tough opponents back to back in Glover Texeira and Alexander Gustaffson, Jones biggest challenge to date comes in the form of Daniel Cormier, former Strikeforce heavyweight champion, high caliber Olympic wrestler, and currently undefeated his entire mixed martial arts career. Trash talk between Cormier and Jones started years ago when Cormier was still fighting as a heavyweight in Strikeforce. At the time it didn't seem very realistic that a match would happen between the two. Fast forward a couple of years later, and Cormier is in the UFC, down a weight class fighting at light heavyweight, destroying anyone they have put in his way, and now about to face the man he has verbally traded jabs with at a distance for the light heavyweight championship.
Daniel Cormier has been dominant for his entire mixed martial arts career, from his early days as heavyweight champ in Strikeforce, to his transition over into the UFC. With wins over Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Patrick Cummins, and an extremely dominant performance against MMA legend Dan Henderson, Cormier has the momentum, the motivation, and the talent, to give Jon Jones the biggest challenge he has ever faced inside the Octagon. Although Jones has faced fellow wrestlers in the past such as Rashad Evans, Rampage Jackson, and Matt Hamill, Daniel Cormier has the highest wrestling pedigree of them all. If anyone had any doubts about Cormier's grappling skills, his total dismantling of Dan Henderson at UFC 173 silenced all doubts. Also, fighting as a heavyweight for the majority of his MMA career may give DC the strength advantage. Jones is strong himself, but he has not faced off against heavyweights like Antonio Silva or Josh Barnett. Cormier, who was considered one of the smaller heavyweights, is simply used to fighting bigger guys, while Jones has spent a majority of his fight career battling fighters who were considerably smaller than him.
Is Cormier's wrestling pedigree good enough to neutralize the wrestling pedigree of Jon Jones? Will this become a stand up war instead? Jones has been known to use his long reach to his advantage in the striking department, whether it be jabs or kicks. Will his strikes be powerful enough to keep Cormier at bay, or will Cormier's strength allow him to walk right through Jones offense? Can Cormier ragdoll Jones in the manner that he has other opponents? At UFC 165, Alexander Gustaffson, who is not known for wrestling, was able to take Jones down for the first time. Now that we see that Jones is vulnerable to be taken down, will it be much easier for a true wrestler like Cormier?
One thing is certain, after one cancellation in September, a war of heated words across media outlets, and a major brawl that quickly went viral, UFC 182 has become the most anticipated light heavyweight championship fight in UFC history. Looking at all the statistics and variables involved, many people will agree that Daniel Cormier is Jon Jones "biggest test" to date.