UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (20-1) defends his belt against undefeated Daniel Cormier (15-0) in the biggest grudge match of the year to start the new year
In that same stretch of time, heavyweight turned light heavyweight Daniel Cormier (left)has out-wrestled, out-gunned and oumatched his opposition en route to a perfect 15-0 record as a mixed martial artist.
So what happens when an unstoppable force in Cormier meets an immovable object in Jones? We’ll soon find out at UFC 182 this Saturday in Las Vegas.
In what might be the biggest grudge match of the year, Cormier will contend with Jones finally for the strap, roughly four months after their infamous media day brawl for what was then going to be their fight at UFC 178.
The two have exchanged words via social media for roughly a year since Cormier made the transition to light heavyweight after spending most of his career as a heavyweight and that hatred will likely spill over in Saturday’s fight.
Both bring an elite wrestling pedigree that many opponents have yet to solve.
Jones (far right), who may be better known for his vicious spinning elbows, is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC having been taken down only once in his career.
While Jones is by far one of the best in the UFC when it comes to grappling, Cormier’s world wrestling background and history with bigger fighters during his heavyweight days gives him the edge in this particular area of the fight.
The fight will most likely be determined on the feet and while Cormier possesses the better power of the two, Jones has a distinct advantage in a multitude of areas in the striking department.
Perhaps the biggest reason no one has yet to solve Jones (don’t be confused by the one loss, it was a disqualification to Matt Hamill), is because few fighters possess Jones’ unique blend of height, reach and speed.
There are few fighters as athletic as Jones in the UFC in general and only Alexander Gustaffson has been able to match it during Jones’ title defenses because of his own height, reach and speed.
Jones has the height (6’4”vs 5’11”) and reach (84.5” vs 72.5”) in spades against Cormier and unless the former Olympian has a game plan to bust Jones’ athleticism, he’ll be picked apart all night.
This all said, if Cormier can find a way inside Jones’ reach his ability to out-grapple and power his way through his opponents, he can take down the champ.
Cormier has made a name for himself beating much larger opponents throughout his career after spending his early fighting days, dispatching the likes of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Josh Barnett and Frank Mir.
If Cormier can get his hands on Jones, for even just a little, it could spell doom for the champ.
But Jones is an intelligent fighter. Few champions are better at beating opponents at their weakness than “Bones” is and one should expect a careful stick-and-move fight plan from the champ in this bout.
A tilt this great is only fitting for the UFC to start the new year with a bang.
Just don’t expect the belt to change hands this Saturday.