The UFC light heavyweight division still belongs to Daniel “DC” Cormier who retained his title Saturday at UFC 210 when he defeated Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in their second meeting. Following the victory, Cormier had some words for potential contenders Jimi Manuwa and his fiercest rival, Jon Jones.
Cormier (19-1) had a slow start in the championship bout. Johnson (22-6) was the aggressor early and was putting the pressure on the champion. Famous for his knockout power, Johnson surprised many when he went back to his roots, wrestling, and tried to go for a takedown. He had some success with this strategy, and it looked like he took the first round since he was the one who landed significant strikes. “Rumble” even connected with a head kick that wobbled “DC.”
In the second round, Cormier attempted to bring down Johnson immediately. Unfortunately for him, the challenger was ready, and his defense allowed him to reverse the position.
Johnson was the one who accomplished the takedown, but he failed to capitalize. Cormier displayed world-class grappling to regain control. Once the champ was on top, he executed some ground and pound before going for a rear-naked choke that ended the fight.
This was the same submission move Cormier used on Johnson when they first met at UFC 187 in May of 2015. UFC 210 was deja vu for Johnson who had an emotional interview when the bout finished.
UFC 210 is likely Johnson’s last event as he announced his retirement after another loss to Cormier. The 33-year-old stated that he enjoyed everything about his career, although his focus will now be on a new endeavor. The crowd in Buffalo, New York cheered him on while speaking to Joe Rogan.
Before the interviews, when the announcement was being made, it appeared that Cormier was talking to someone in the stands. When it was his time to speak with Rogan, it was revealed that the one he was jawing with was top contender Manuwa.
During Cormier’s interview, he expressed willingness to face Manuwa who is viewed by many as the No. 1 contender for the light heavyweight strap. Cormier sounded confident talking about a possible matchup with “Poster Boy.”
Another potential future opponent for Cormier who also watched UFC 210 is Jones. “Bones” is the only man who defeated the reigning champ and that occurred over two years ago. At first, it seemed like Cormier was ignoring any Jones talk. He later gave in and stated that he is waiting for the ex-champion and once the latter is no longer “ineligible,” they can discuss the rematch.
Sadly, for fans hoping that the rematch between Cormier and Jones happens soon, the wait may be longer than expected. In an interview with FloCombat ahead of UFC 210, Jones shared that he is considering a “warm-up fight” before he chases gold. The 29-year-old has no specific plans yet regarding his fighting career.
UFC president Dana White is open to the idea of a warm-up fight, but during his time speaking with The Sports Network, he warned Jones. White explained that the UFC “isn’t a place for tune-up fights.”
“I understand if that’s what he wants, but it’s super dangerous. If you’re gonna go for it, at least go for the champ and try to fight the best. If you end up going for a tune-up fight and you don’t win that one, that’s not good,” White added.
The last time the UFC featured Jones was in April of 2016 when he defeated Ovince St. Preux via unanimous decision. Before this, he had canceled bouts that should have seen him battle Johnson and Cormier. These fell apart due to the issues he faced outside the octagon.
[Featured Image by Steve Marcus/Getty Images]