Dueling opinions: Who wins, Jones or Cormier?

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This Saturday, UFC 214 will present the most historic rematch in company history. Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones will go toe-to-toe once again to lay claim to the best light heavyweight ever. With that in mind, MMASucka.com Founder Jeremy Brand, and Senior Editor Jason Burgos pick a champion, and explain why their chosen fighter will win this weekend.

Jason Burgos – Daniel Cormier

On Saturday night, Daniel Cormier will once again attempt to solve (arguably) the greatest puzzle in the history of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)—beating Jon Jones. It is a feet no one has accomplished, yet Cormier will shock the world at UFC 214. He will solve the greatest riddle in the sport, and here’s why.

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I am not delusional, the advantages “Bones” has are legitimate. Pundits picking Jones (like my colleague) might tell you about the length and size advantage of Jones (both true), his athleticism (very real), how he is much younger and has less wear and tear (I can’t deny that), and the simple fact that he won the first fight definitively. So then why do I believe “DC” will overcome what seems to be insurmountable odds? Simply put, Cormier is a great fighter, and this is what great fighters do.

Simply put, Cormier is a great fighter, and this is what great fighters do.

The resume of Cormier speaks for itself. Besides his decision loss to Jones, he has accumulated one of the best resumes in MMA history. He has beaten former heavyweight champions Frank Mir and Josh Barnett. He has dominated some of the toughest fighters the sport has ever seen in Dan Henderson and Roy Nelson. The former Strikeforce gran prix winner had a fight-of-the-year candidate war with Alexander Gustafsson—one of the best light heavyweights of the last decade. And without a doubt, his crowning achievement is going 2-0 against the striking boogeyman that was Anthony Johnson.

Who wins, Jones or Cormier

However, you might be saying, “Jones has or could have beat those guys too.” And you may be right. Though the same could be said of Cormier likely getting wins over Jones victims Rashad Evans, Glover Texiera, Ovince St. Preux and Quinton Jackson. After Jones, Cormier is the next best light heavyweight ever, period. He truly is the Joe Frazier, to Jones’ Muhammad Ali.

I bring up those two boxing legends up because their first fight mirrors what is to come on Saturday night. The topic of ring rust has been debated ad nauseam. Whether you believe in it or not, the fact still remains that Jon Jones has only fought once in nearly 30 months. He just turned 30-years-old and is not the 23-year-old spry young champion he once was. And if you consider his very mortal performance against St. Preux last year, there is reason to believe Jones will not be his best when he and Cormier clash at UFC 214. It is similar to Ali when he returned from a long hiatus to face Frazier the first time. He was beaten and knocked down for the first time ever in his career.

Whether you believe in it or not, the fact still remains that Jon Jones has only fought once in nearly 30 months. 

Also of note is Jones has never taken part in a rematch. Cormier has had the chance to be in the cage with the interim champ, and get a sense of his speed, strength, length, and his unorthodox attack. Now of course the same could be said for Jones about Cormier. However, Jones fits into the criteria of a fighter that is hard to prepare for. His body-type, and how he uses it, is completely unique and hard to mimic in training. Cormier is not a fighter that is athletically hard to mimic. It gives Cormier a key advantage for this particular rematch.

Also, one has to wonder why Jones never gave Gustafsson a rematch after their classic encounter. It was certainly a fight fans wanted to see, and it would have been an easy sell. Is there a fear in Jones that once the unknown is taken away, he is a more beatable opponent? It’s something to think about.

Since their 2015 match-up, Cormier has only gotten better. He has been tested by the elite of the division and come through as one of the best fighters in the world. Is victory a foregone conclusion for Cormier on Saturday? No, Jones is one of the best to ever grace the octagon. He will not make this an easy win. However, the stars seemed to be aligned perfectly for “DC” to score an historic win, and solidify himself as a legend at UFC 214.

Jeremy Brand – Jon Jones

Ok, so Burgos over there seems to think Daniel Cormier will be able to beat Jon Jones. I am literally laughing out loud (LOL) at that notion. It was two and a half years ago that Jones first faced Cormier. One of the pound-for-pound greats earned a unanimous decision victory at UFC 182, but it was very one sided.

He was later stripped of the belt and went down what many call a rabbit-hole of problems. Even though he came back and fought Ovince Saint Preux to a decision at UFC 197, he was stripped of that belt too.

Who wins, Jones or Cormier

So lets look at the scenario at hand. Jones vs. Cormier II will take place 32 UFC PPV events later, and nearly two and half years after the first encounter. What has played out since that bout?

Who wins, Jones or Cormier?

Well for Jones, we know he has had problems with the law. And most recently he had the USADA suspension. During his time out of the cage, Jones was able to hit the grappling scene and defeated Dan Henderson at Submission Underground 2. We know he has been in the gym keeping busy. There is no way, someone of Jones’ level stays out of action for two years and isn’t ready for the return.

Alright, over to Cormier. He has won four in a row since the loss to Jones. He tapped out Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in the bout following the loss to “Bones.” Cormier then went on to win his next three bouts, which included another Johnson victory in his most recent bout.

Yes, Cormier has been more active, but this is Jon Jones we are talking about. He has one loss on his record, and that is due to a dumb 12-6 illegal elbow against Matt Hamill. Are you kidding me? Even in his least impressive performance (his last against “OSP”), he still was able to earn a decisive decision win, and remain undefeated in the last eight years.

Yes, Cormier has been more active, but this is Jon Jones we are talking about. 

Cormier’s bread and butter is his wrestling. In their first fight, which went the full five rounds I might add, “DC” was only able to get Jones to the mat once. He attempted to take him down eight times and only got him there ONCE. On the other side of the table, Jones was able to get Cormier to the canvas on three occasions, after just five attempts.

At the end of the day, if this fight stays on the feet, then Jones will have Cormier’s number. Even if the current king of the light heavyweight division decides to try and get the fight to the ground, where he wants it, if we look back to the past, then that won’t be the easiest of paths.

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New York resident Jason Burgos is the co-host of the Fight Strength Podcast. He has written for lastwordonsports.com, pwpnation.com, bronxjournal.com, and SportsandPolitics.org. He is currently a senior editor for mmasucka.com.

Jason has a degree in journalism from Lehman College, and hopes to one day be a familiar name and face on your web browsers when perusing pro-sports sites.

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