The day has arrived. UFC 182 is finally here, and I feel like people have been driving themselves to the brink of madness in anticipation of a Jon Jones loss. Unfortunately for the detractors pining for a “Bones” Jones loss, I don’t see it happening.
MMA and combat sports worldwide need “villains”, because they rack up money just because they get people to buy into hating them. Jack Johnson was a villain, Muhammad Ali was largely a villain, and today, Jon Jones is the top villain in MMA (along with Ronda Rousey; Conor McGregor is also climbing the ranks — by the way, cue the, “I can’t believe you have the nerve to mention Jonny “Bones” Jones in the same vein as Ali!” crowd).
I reckon the Jones hate all started back in 2011 when he defeated the overly loved Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for the light heavyweight title. That’s when people online started to needlessly bitch about his crazy reach and naturally talented athletic ability in the octagon. After knocking off Shogun, he toyed with Rampage Jackson in September 2011 and choked out Lyoto Machida in December 2011. It was smooth sailing for “Bones” Jones until, in September 2012, when he was scheduled to face Dan Henderson, Hendo pulled out of the fight due to injury, and when Chael Sonnen stepped up to fight Jones, Jones declined to face him, citing that Sonnen wasn’t the opponent he’d intended to be facing.
That’s when the hate blossomed and detractors started dubbing him the antithesis of a fighting champion.
Needless to say, later that month (September 2012), Jones impressively dispatched of Vitor Belfort after escaping a tight armbar, and six months later in April 2013 he finally faced Sonnen and made quick work of him, despite breaking his big toe in the process. After defeating Alexander Gustafsson in a controversial contest in September 2013 and outlasting Glover Teixeira last April, the highly touted bout with Daniel Cormier is finally happening tonight.
Here’s the deal: Cormier can definitely win this fight tonight, but ask yourself how often do you find yourself picking against “Bones” Jones out of unequivocal disdain rather than from a perspective packed with analysis? If memory serves me correctly, all of JBJ’s opponents have gotten “into his head” in some way or another that would force Jones into becoming careless and losing. Of course, that mentality has proven to be incorrect over and over again.
Cormier will have to grind out Jonny to win this puppy or he’ll have to completely outstrike him. The latter isn’t going to happen, so the former will be the fight changer. DC is going to have to get past Jones’ range and that will mean shooting in from a long way out or hustling in for a clinch and a body lock throw. It is probably going to take a hell of a lot of attempts or some very calculating shots for Jones to be taken down easily. “Bones” Jones is going to outstrike Cormier, which is a given. I reckon the reach disadvantage is going to be way too much for Cormier to overcome, especially with his pedestrian kicking game, which will merely leave him with boxing.
Jones will snipe DC with his improved jab, his sneaky left hook and will definitely affect Cormier with a multitude of painful, oblique kicks to the knee. There’s too many things Cormier has to contend with that he’s not going to be able to overcome. “Bones” Jones is a better all-around fighter in every facet than Cormier has ever beaten (including the heavyweights), and hell, I’m not even sold on Cormier being better than Gustafsson.
I’m emotionally uninvested in this fight. I feel that most people betting on Cormier have a reason entrenched in pure hatred and emotion. Jon Jones by unanimous decision.