When Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier had their first meeting at UFC 182, it was an epic battle that showcased both their heart and Jones’ amazing physical dexterity. Cormier lost via unanimous decision, and Jones has said multiple times that during the fight he never felt in danger at all.
He might not have felt like he was in danger, but at times he seemed to be. This time around, one thing that could make things fall in Cormier’s favor to take a decision or possibly finish Jones is his boxing.
Before the long-overdue rematch set to take place at UFC 214 on July 29 between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones, check out the rivals first battle at UFC 182 in 2015. Order UFC 214: https://www.ufc.tv/video/ufc-214
Cormier started round one off strong the first time around when he let his hands go. It meant the grueling task of penetrating Jones’ long reach, in which Cormier had to block consistently and avoid short inside attacks. But whenever Cormier made it inside, he connected and frustrated the lankier Jones.
He needs to also constantly employ some dirty boxing, where Cormier holds Jones with one arm and tees off from various angles with the other. This worked effectively in their first pairing, where Jones fell victim to many right uppercuts and left hooks from the inside. The reality for all other modes of attack are bleak for Cormier, as his size and Jones balance work against him.
Jones is considered the best light heavyweight and even fighter ever because he has mastered angles. His delivery of standing, short, stinging inside elbows are vicious and an upgrade on Canadian David “The Crow” Loiseau’s ground elbows back in the day. Also, Jones’ usage of short elliptical kicks to the thigh and legs are punishment for entering his space, and his spinning back elbow is also a possible consequence for close-quarter engagement.
Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson
When Jones fought Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson at UFC 165, he claimed that it was the toughest fight he ever had. Gustafsson is an inch taller and just as vicious, but when you look at where the damage came from, it was from his boxing. Jones took the biggest beating of his career in that fight and still controversially walked away with the unanimous decision.
However, one thing is for certain, Jones can’t box but he can strike and his length has always neutralized mediocre boxing strategies.
Cormier is blessed to be working with Rosendo Sanchez, a former boxer from the Bay Area that gave Nonito Donaire his first loss. Sanchez has taken Cormier from a wrestler to a wrestler with accurate boxing level striking. Although Cormier doesn’t move his head a lot, he has utilized Sanchez’s system to diffuse Jones’ inside game with dirty boxing.
Cormier cannot effectively use his takedowns and wrestling acumen at will with Jones due to his size disadvantage and his opponent’s expert balance. However, if Cormier can put his hands together consistently and not fade during rounds 4 and 5, where Jones landed takedowns and neutralized his striking with holds, then Cormier might have a chance to do the impossible and defeat the only man to ever make him look human.