Sunday, May 24, 2015
The champ is here; or is he?
For the first time in four years, the UFC has a light heavyweight champion not named Jon Jones. Daniel Cormier (16-1, 6 KO's 5 subs), who just four months ago lost in his bid to wrestle (no pun intended) the title away from Jones, made good on an unexpected golden opportunity when he defeated number one contender Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson (19-5, 13 KO's) on Saturday night.
With the now former champion Jones being stripped of his title after yet another legal matter, this time a hit and run traffic accident, Cormier (pictured above) was more than willing to step in on just three weeks notice and fight Johnson for the vacant championship. He did so in convincing fashion too as he withstood an early first round knockdown by Johnson, to get up and inevitably begin a ground and pound barrage against the former top contender who came in to the fight riding a nine fight win streak. The punishment eventually led to Cormier sinking in a rear naked choke submission in the third round for the victory.
Congratulations and all respect due to the new champion, who I happen to like very much, and since my personal disdain for Jones is publicly known, all the more better. However that said, I could not help but think to myself after Johnson, in a very classy move, strapped the belt around Cormier after the fight, "Does Cormier truly relish winning the title this way?"
I ask that question in no way as a slight to 'Rumble' Johnson or his skills as I thought and publicly stated going in to the fight he would win. I ask it rather on Cormier knowing he did not beat Jones in their meeting four months ago and Jones technically never losing the title in the cage. I feel I got the answer to my question immediately after the belt was strapped on and Joe Rogan interviewed the new champ.
Rogan came in and asked Cormier the obligatory, "How does it feel" question after winning the title. Cormier's response was to grab the microphone and tell Rogan he has only one thing to say; "Jon Jones, get your sh** together because I'm waiting for you." With that Cormier walked out of the cage to celebrate his reign as the new light-heavyweight champion.
I have mixed emotions about Cormier's statement. In one sense I say kudos to Cormier because it should be his only mission right now to truly establish himself as the champion considering he loss to Jones just four months ago. However, on another note I think to myself, he looks foolish saying it considering he loss to Jones just four moths ago. It appears Cormier now finds himself in a catch-22 situation.
He's won the championship he's coveted for so long and deservedly so, but do fans of the sport and even he himself look at him as such. I feel as though right now he's like Apollo Creed was in 'Rocky II'; he won the fight against Rocky in the first film, but he was not satisfied because he did not win the adulation. Thus, the reason he wants to face Jones again and actually needs to. Because till then wherever he goes he'll always be greeted as, "The champ is here; or is he?"
at May 24, 2015
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