Jon Jones has returned. After being bounced from the UFC 200 card nearly a year ago, he is poised to once again step foot in the hallowed octagon. While this may be exciting for MMA fans everywhere, Jones’ homecoming will be hosted by a welcoming committee that more so resembles a firing squad; none other than Daniel Cormier.
The UFC’s prodigal son will finally finish what he started last summer; a rematch with the current light heavyweight champion. The bout will be the main event for UFC 214, despite Dana White’s earlier insistence that Jones’ comeback would not be celebrated by allowing it to headline an event.
It’s easy to grasp the good-natured intentions of White’s comment, but given the resume of both participants, how could the match not be?
Get it through your thick head Daniel, I don't give a fuck what you think of me. Why are you so stuck on trying to prove I'm the bad guy?
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 13, 2017
Vegas and Jon Jones
Despite his tendency to play career roulette, Jon Jones is a physical force to be reckoned with. He bears a 22-1 career MMA record, with his only loss being a disqualification over illegal elbows. In other words, the only person to beat Jones in a contest is himself.
Jones has earned the title twice, and defended it an impressive eight times. What’s more, his victories have all been unanimous decisions or better. Vegas odds makers must have taken note of these accomplishments. Jones is an early favorite to walk away champion.
Cormier is not Going Down Easy
Daniel Cormier isn’t exactly low-hanging fruit, though. He boasts a 19-1 record, with his only loss coming at the hands of, you guessed it, Jon Jones. Cormier has held the light heavyweight title for the last two years in Jones’ absence, and went 4-0 since last facing Jones.
That four win streak consists of the fight to gain the title, two fights to defend the title, and an exhibition against Anderson Silva for good measure. His streak has earned him the right to be third on the pound-for-pound list, with only Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Conor McGregor ahead of him.
Apart from the date (July 29th) and the venue (the Honda Center in Anaheim), very few details are set in stone. A featherweight duel between Dooho Choi and Andre Fili is also slated for that night, and rumor has it that White is opting for an additional light heavyweight matchup just in case the Jones-Cormier bout falls through, with Jimi Manuwa possibly being a participant.
These fights will also fall under the new California weigh-in rules, which could only allow a fighter to cut 10% of their body weight. Needless to say, all eyes will be on Cormier after needing a second weigh-in at UFC 210. One thing’s for certain: if this fight happens, it will go down as arguably the biggest duel of the year.