Bad blood was running fast and furious heading into the main event of UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2. The event, which took place Saturday night from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, saw the best grudge match in recent UFC memory top the card. Jon Jones’ struggles outside the octagon are well known, and light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier took advantage of Jones being stripped of his title, stepping in the fill the void left by Jones.
The two men admittedly do not like one another, which made this rematch just a little more compelling. On the line was Jones’ redemption, coming back from a drug test failure, and Cormier’s legacy, with Jones being the only man to have ever defeated him.
Could Jones reclaim his title? Could Daniel Cormier enter the picture as one of the sport’s all-time greats, by beating one of the sport’s all-time greats?
Perhaps surprisingly, the pair touched gloves after ref Big John McCarthy’s instructions. Jones came out swinging, and landed a number of kicks. Cormier knocked Jones mouthpiece out with an uppercut. DC caught a kick; the pair clinched, Jones threw Cormier to the mat but could not keep him there as the champ muscled right back up. Jones utilized his oblique kicks early, and made good use of his reach. Immediately noticeable was how superior this Jon Jones looked to the one that faced Ovince St. Preux a little over a year ago. Jones connected with a knee; Cormier came back with a leg kick. Jones mixed in a standing elbow and connected with a couple of rights as the one minute mark approached; Cormier pressed forward however, using his own kicks and looking for a way to cover the distance. They clinched with under a minute left; after breaking DC connected with some solid shots to the head of Jones. Both men raised their arms at the end of the first.
In the second round, Jones opened with a knee to the body early. Cormier landed a number of leg kicks for his part. Unfortunately a clash of heads a minute in stopped the action briefly. That opened up a cut over the eye of Cormier. With action back underway, Jones landed a number of kicks while DC kept the pressure up, walking Jones down. Jones scored with a good body shot halfway through the round. DC pulled off a slick trip. Cormier then finished a left hook-right hand combo that looked nice. An uppercut followed moments later. He continued to press forward, landing a number of times with an overhand.
Round three saw Jones working to keep Cormier outside. Cormier pressed forward, eventually landed another uppercut, setting it up with a left. Jones backpedaled, but moments later landed a head kick that rocked Cormier! Cormier retreated back quickly, but Jones ran in, just missing a jump knee that Cormier fell back from. With DC down Jones began landing bombs as the champ covered up, and soon Big John had seen enough. Once again, Jon Jones is the light heavyweight champion of the UFC!
After the bout, Jones thanked everyone, even his haters, for motivating him. He also thanked Daniel Cormier for being his biggest rival – and called him a true champion for the rest of his life. Cormier, looking crushed, later said that “if you lose both fights, there is no rivalry.”
Jones later came back, and called out Brock Lesnar, adding “if you want to know what it feels like to get your a** kicked by someone forty pounds lighter than you, meet me in the octagon!”
Jon Jones def. Daniel Cormier by TKO, Round 3, 3:01 – for the UFC light heavyweight championship