Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier is undoubtedly one of the most publicized pre-fight feuds in UFC/MMA history. The two have engaged in countless face-offs in the lead up to first UFC 178, and then the rescheduled date of UFC 182. Tonight (Saturday January 3rd, 2015) we get to see this beef finally fought out, and it’s been a long time coming.
This has been the first legitimate grudge match in the UFC’s new digital era, and really the only significant one of 2014. We’ll relive all the moments that have made this such a saleable story at the end of the article, but first I ask the question; is Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier the biggest fight ever? On paper it’s hard to argue against either man’s record, and that is what makes this fight so interesting.
All the brawls and name calling aside, two perfect records in a division like light-heavyweight or heavyweight is very hard to come by indeed. To have them fighting for not only the 205-pound title, but the moniker of best fighter on the planet is simply huge. It’s a mouth-watering prospect, and the time we’ve been made to wait has only made it more enticing.
Then you have the skills to consider; overall it’s pretty even, as I broke down earlier this week, but it’s the individual traits of each athlete that add fuel to the fire. Jones has the reach, height and unpredictability, Cormier the wrestler has huge power and extremely fast hands/feet. Perhaps even the lack of big stars in 2014 may have played in to the hands of the promotion in making this fight as electric as it’s become.
Superstars like Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz, Georges St-Pierre, Cain Velasquez and Anthony Pettis were mostly absent in the last 12 months, so when “DC” vs “Bones” materialized it was really a blessing for the UFC. It also pays to remember the older days of UFC grudges, and perhaps the first true bad blood of the Zuffa era was Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock.
Look back to when Ortiz and Shamrock were fighting, and it was a lot more crude in those times. Social media and the internet were not such a commonly utilized tool back then, yet the beef still became highly publicized. What that feud lacked in comparison to Jones/Cormier is, to be frank, actual legitimate, unbeaten, talented athletes. Don’t get me wrong, those guys were hardcore, but you can’t say that either was ever at the same level as their modern counterparts.
Of course you have to consider how far MMA training and conditioning has come since the early 2000’s, and also that Shamrock would never have fought in any promotion that had drug testing of any kind. Nowadays guys like the former Strikeforce GP winner and the long time lhw champion embody what a modern mixed martial artist is; an athlete, a sportsman, and the stage they have is so much bigger than ever before.
Let’s be honest, this is a gargantuan fight, even without the grudge match, the theatrics and publicity. It is a legitimate battle between the two best in the division right now, and some might argue that it’s the peak of the current crop at 205. There really isn’t a more meaningful fight after this one. Of course Alexander Gustafsson might disagree, as would Anthony Johnson, but these guys have losses, and it’s hard to imagine either of them bringing the aura that “DC” has in to his role of dragon slayer at UFC 182.
In summary, I personally think that Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier dwarfs the grudge matches of the past. Liddell vs Couture/Ortiz, Lesnar vs Mir, Rampage vs Evans, Jones vs Evans, Penn vs GSP, Ortiz vs Shamrock, Silva vs Sonnen, even GSP vs Diaz (and that was a huge fight) pale in comparison. Now all that’s left is for these two to get locked inside a cage, and bring to fruition six months of controversial and sensational hype.
Relive the best moments from the Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier saga below