The main event for this past Saturday’s UFC 214 featured two of the best mixed martial artists of all-time. Then-light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier squared off against his biggest rival Jon Jones in one of the biggest rematches in UFC history. The build up to the fight was entertaining, emotional, dramatic, and, most importantly, personal. Both men have shared a common hatred for one another ever since their first matchup back in January 2015.
In their first fight, Jones beat out Cormier in a unanimous decision to retain his title. Shortly after, he was stripped of the belt because of his antics outside of the octagon. Failed drug tests and hit-and-runs have kept Jones away from the top of the MMA mountain, but he finally had his shot at redemption at UFC 214 against the man that has been keeping his belt warm ever since he was stripped.
Both men would have had a legitimate case for being pound for pound number one if they walked away with the victory. Well, that man was Jon Jones as he blasted Cormier with a perfect head kick in the third round, putting DC on wobbly legs and finishing him off with ground and pound. In perhaps the biggest fight of his career, Jones walked away with his best career win to date and his light heavyweight championship.
As Jones said in the build up to the fight, a win over Cormier would allow him to “get my life back.” The knockout victory also got Jones his pound for pound number one spot back, or at least it should.
UFC currently ranks flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson as the current pound for pound number one fighter. Johnson has successfully defended his belt ten straight times so he deserves to be mentioned as one of the top fighters today. However, his opponents do not carry the same mystique as Jones. Jon has defeated some of the best to ever do it such as Cormier, Rua, Belfort, Teixeira, Sonnen, and Evans. Johnson really has not faced anybody close to that stature during his title reign.
Daniel Cormier has two losses in his mixed martial arts career, both to Jones.
Now the UFC may not actually rank Jones as number one right away because the headliner for UFC 215 in September happens to be Johnson, so they will most likely want to use his pound for pound ranking as a marketing tool. History suggests that does not actually sell to many fans, but that is the likeliest scenario.
But that should not dismiss the fact that the best MMA fighter on the planet right now is Jon “Bones” Jones and it has been for a few years now. He is only 29 years old so the resume is not nearly complete. There still may be some magical moments for the Rochester native.
After his KO victory over Cormier, Jones took to the mic and applauded his greatest rival. DC was visibly upset over the outcome of the fight and Jones, who in the past has shown zero signs of remorse towards his fellow fighter, had a great opportunity to bury and embarrass DC. But instead of adding insult to injury, Jones explained just how important DC has been in his life and how great of a person DC is inside the cage and outside of it. The chances both men compete a third time is very unlikely considering Jones is now 2-0 and DC’s career is on the back nine so the kind words may have been the last chapter in their memorable rivalry.
After a very awkward and unnecessary interview with DC that social media ate up (unfortunately), Jones once again took the mic and challenged Brock Lesnar to a fight. There were rumblings of a potential Jones-Lesnar super fight on social media in the days leading up to Cormier-Jones 2 and now the challenge is out there.
Lesnar reportedly responded to Jones’ offer by saying, “Be careful what you wish for, young man.”
The percent chance that fight actually happens is less than 50, however, crazier matchups have been made (cough cough Mayweather-McGregor).
The likeliest scenario for Jones is a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson, who gave Jones his biggest challenge in his career. Their first fight was in September 2013 in which Jones won via unanimous decision.
No matter who steps up to face Jones next, the fact of the matter is that he is finally back and he has not lost a step. There is nobody in MMA that is a tougher fight than Jones, not even the current pound for pound number one.
The length, the creative striking, and the durability are what make him the best today and one of the best of all-time. And with the way his career has gone, he may finish as the undisputed best to ever walk inside the octagon.
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