UFC 192 hit Houston, Texas this past Saturday October 3, and presented a thrilling light-heavyweight title tilt at the head of the card. Daniel Cormier took on Alexander Gustafsson in the main event, and it was a highly entertaining five round affair that possessed the numerous qualities of an all-time classic.
There was a lot more on the line at UFC 192 though, as much of the pre-fight lead up indicated. Jon Jones’ shadow loomed over the event and could have easily become more daunting had the title fight been less satisfying. The worst thing that could’ve happened for the 205-pound division is for the top contender and the champion fail in delivering. But deliver they did.
Of course the absent former champion Jones’ controversial departure was all a doing of his own, but the underlying tone is that the division and the UFC needs ‘Bones’ back. His infamous social media trolling was reignited on the night of the fights, as a soon deleted video reaction from Jones spread through various media outlets.
The ex-boss was somewhat overshadowed himself that night though, in a situation where he used to hold all the power. Now in temporary limbo while we await news of his comeback, ‘Bones’ Instagram reaction was a squeak amongst roars of applause for ‘DC’ and ‘The Mauler’ in Texas. Their high paced slugfest draw comparisons to Gustafsson’s attempt at Jones’ title at UFC 165, adding more to ammunition in the fight for the division’s freedom from the stricken ruler’s grip.
‘DC’ vs. Gus proved that the UFC didn’t need Jones to keep the division interesting, just look at Cormier’s last two fights, a submission against Anthony Johnson and then a record setting fight of the night at UFC 192. We’d seen a surge in the champ’s popularity level before he even fought ‘The Mauler’, as an exact opposite of ‘Bones” bad boy image.
The professional Cormier is a company man, which is exactly what the promotion needs after all the Jones cocaine and hit & run drama. Now he has two great fights since losing to ‘Bones’, but that in itself is the reason why the gap left by the ex-champ is only partially covered. Try as they might to forget about him, Jones is the proverbial thorn in the side of the UFC light-heavyweight division.
As we’ve discussed before though, that ever looming Jones comeback need not be all bad. If anything it brings more focus to the 205-pound division in the media, and provides an ongoing dialogue that can be spun endless ways when the time comes for the Greg Jackson’s product to return.
Once again the questions of the authenticity of Cormier’s championship status are inevitable, only this time he has a lot more powerful answers. He stood up to a fantastic attempt at the belt by Gustafsson, no one was thinking about Jones as that final round concluded. In an ideal world, we could just put Jones’ influence to one side until his likely return, but for now we’ll bask in the glory of what was a truly magnificent title fight at UFC 192.