On This Day: UFC 182 Settles Score (Initially), Births Stars

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On this day six years ago, UFC 182 kicked off 2015 with a bang. One of the organization’s most heated rivalries reached a boiling point in the main event, a light heavyweight championship fight between dominant champion Jon Jones and longtime contender Daniel Cormier. UFC 182 also featured breakout performances from fighters that are now household names to fight fans: Cody Garbrandt and Paul Felder.

UFC 182 Rewind

Cody Garbrandt Lives Up to Hype, Wins Debut

The preliminary card featured the highly-anticipated debut of “No Love” Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt was a highly-touted boxer with a collegiate wrestling background that had finished his first five professional fights. His first test came against Marcus Brimage, who is also known for being the debut opponent for none other than Conor McGregor. Garbrandt took apart “The Bama Beast” Brimage, finishing him by TKO with only ten seconds left in the fight. A little less than two years later, Garbrandt would defeat Dominick Cruz to become the UFC bantamweight champion.

Paul Felder Scores Highlight-Reel KO

The UFC 182 preliminary card was headlined by longtime UFC and WEC veteran Danny Castillo, who faced Paul Felder, a short-notice replacement for Rustam Khabilov. “The Irish Dragon” Felder had only fought once previously in the UFC, defeating Jason Saggo by split decision, and was a definite underdog going into this matchup with “Last Call” Castillo.

Almost halfway into the second round, however, Felder stunned Castillo with a spinning back fist, which was just the third finish of its kind in UFC history at the time. That knockout earned him a Performance of the Night bonus and a lot of fan notoriety. Felder is now a fan favorite both as a fighter and commentator, and his performance at UFC 182 showcased exactly why that is the case.

Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier Rivalry Reaches Boiling Point

The main event of UFC 182 featured the long-awaited matchup between UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones and challenger Daniel Cormier. The bad blood had been brewing for a long time, most notably seen during the brawl that took place during a face-off at the MGM Hotel for their originally-scheduled matchup at UFC 178. After a Jones injury, the tension was prolonged from September to January while Jones recovered and the fight was rescheduled.

Although the fight was close and hard-fought, Jones remained the champion, winning by unanimous decision. UFC 182 would not be the end of their rivalry, however.

After Jones ran into a litany of issues outside of the Octagon, he was stripped of the title, which “DC” won by submitting Anthony Johnson at UFC 187. Jones was expected to return to the Octagon to rematch Cormier for the title at UFC 197, but after Cormier withdrew due to injury, he defeated Ovince Saint Preux by unanimous decision to win the an interim title. The rematch was again scheduled for UFC 200, but Jones was flagged by USADA for a positive drug test, once again delaying it. The rematch finally took place at UFC 214, and though Cormier looked impressive early, Jones knocked out Cormier in the third round.

Jones would not be champion for long, though, as he was again flagged by USADA for a positive drug test, overturning the fight’s result to a no-contest. Cormier was reinstated as champion. The two would never fight again, as Cormier would return to heavyweight to become a two-division champ. Cormier would vacate his light heavyweight title shortly after, and Jones would return to defeat Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 to earn that title. Although there was talk of Jones coming up to heavyweight to face Cormier for a third time, that never materialized. Cormier is now retired and Jones is looking to make his heavyweight debut soon.

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Nate Freeman is from Birmingham, AL, and has been an MMA fan since 2013 after buying UFC Undisputed 2009 for $2 from a second-hand electronics store.

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