The brutal 2014 has come to a close for the world’s biggest MMA promotion, but fans can now look forward to a huge opening to 2015, featuring four stacked cards in January alone. Perhaps the most anticipated one is the first one of the New Year, UFC 182 on January 3, 2015.
The main event features the bad blood-fueled matchup between reigning light heavyweight champion and pound-for-pound king Jon “Bones” Jones and Daniel “DC” Cormier. After the infamous media brawl as well as their now-infamous “hot mic” battle, Jones vs. Cormier has quickly become one of the most anticipated bouts not only of the New Year, but also UFC history.
Jones has defended his light heavyweight strap a record-setting seven consecutive times and has beaten four former champions in the process. He has shown a very diverse and dominant skill set that has boosted him to the top of the UFC pound-for-pound rankings. However, many are saying that Cormier could be Jones’ toughest test and that “DC” could be the man to dethrone “Bones”.
Cormier boasts a great resume as a former Olympian and undefeated 15-0 light heavyweight contender. Cormier could quite possibly be the best wrestler in all of MMA, and although only one man has been able to take the champion down previously, Cormier may be able to rather easily.
Training at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) with current heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, “DC” has also improved his striking, quickness, and pace, and has become a force on the feet. One huge disadvantage for the former Olympian, however, is the huge height and reach advantage the champion will have.
If Jones stays on the outside he could pick apart Cormier rather easily. However, it seems as if “Bones” usually tries to fight his opponents’ fight to prove how good he really is. He has even said that he will try to outwrestle the Olympic wrestler, which would be a daring move.
No matter how the fight plays out, it’s clear that “DC” will present a true challenge to the champion’s decorated reign. This fact now poses an interesting question.
If Jones indeed beats Cormier, does he cement himself as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time?
In my opinion, he becomes dangerously close to being known as the GOAT, but he is not quite there yet for a few reasons. The main reason I don’t believe Jones will be the greatest of all time just yet, is because of one man, and that man is Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson.
Jones and Gustafsson famously battled each other in a five-round-war at UFC 165 in September 2013. It was a very close bout, and one of the most exciting in UFC history. To this day, many still believe the Swedish superstar should have actually been awarded the belt.
After the bout Jones elected to take on Glover Teixeira rather than giving “The Mauler” a rematch. The two were finally set to scrap again at UFC 178, but an injury forced Gustafsson out which is why “DC” got the shot. Jones was then injured which moved his bout with Cormier to UFC 182.
Not wanting to sit out forever, Gustafsson has taken a bout with the dangerous and surging Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. If Gus can get the win, he will undoubtedly get his long-awaited rematch against Jones, and this is what I believe will tell us if Jones is truly the best we’ve ever seen.
If the champion can come out in the rematch and dominate the Swede to prove that their first fight was a fluke, he will show us how great he really is. On the other hand, if Gustafsson can do what he did last time, but finish and grab the belt, there is no way “Bones” can be called the GOAT.
Another mark of a great champion and fighter is clearing out a division, in ways that Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre were able to do in their glory days. Even if “Rumble” loses to Gus and Jones beats “DC” and “The Mauler,” I would still like to see Jones and Johnson battle it out one day.
Many consider Johnson, a freakish athlete with brutal knockout power, to also be a huge test for Jones. Also, if Jones was to beat Johnson, he will have without a doubt completely cleared out one of the UFC’s most dangerous divisions. There would simply be no one left for him to face. These two scenarios, in my opinion, would cement “Bones” as the GOAT.
So in conclusion, do I think that with a win over Cormier, does Jones become the greatest ever? Not quite yet, but the Jackson-Winkeljohn product is quickly on his way to gaining this title. What do you think Jones has to do to become known as the greatest fighter to ever grace the Octagon?