Has Jon Jones’ stunning knockout win at UFC 214 inadvertently put an end to Daniel Cormier’s UFC career? Doug Mattushek offers his opinion.
Despite Cormier cleaning out the light heavyweight division, his sole loss via decision to Jones in 2015 has always hung over his head, a fact that Jones never let him forget in the press conferences leading up to UFC 214.
Jones tormented Cormier, saying he wasn’t the real champion, but rather a caretaker as he had not yet beat Jones.
Here was Cormier – a division champion and considered one of the greatest fighters of all-time – and yet he needed a victory to prove himself. For the former Olympian, losing this fight was not an option.
The duo touched gloves, the tension palpable as they went to work on each other. Jones perhaps had his nose in front on points when he struck Cormier flush on the cheek with a high left kick in the third round.
The rangy Jones smelled blood and went straight for the kill with powerful elbows and punches before referee Big John McCarthy stopped the fight.
Minutes later, both fighters would be crying in the octagon, but for very different reasons.
— Chisanga Malata (@Chisanga_DStar) July 30, 2017
Cormier, still dazed from Jones’ barrage, argued with the referee, had a go at UFC overlord Dana White and was visibly angry, even refusing to stand alongside McCarthy for the announcement of the winner.
But moments later, when UFC commentator Joe Rogan went against his own words and shoved a mic under the fighter’s nose, the world saw how much this meant to a visibly shattered Cormier.
“They said I got kicked in the head. Man, that was so disappointing. I guess if you win both fights, there is no rivalry…”
Cormier looked as though he was living through his worst nightmare right there in the octagon. Bleeding from that fateful strike, tears streaming, his face a picture of a broken man in his darkest moment, forced to admit his failings to all and sundry.
The emotional scene may have been a surprise to some, but to Jones, it was exactly his design.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir revealed what Jones said to him before he first met Cormier at UFC 182.
“I have to break him,” Mir recalled Jones saying.
“We’re gonna have to fight each other again. I need to break him. And if I catch him – if I knock him out with a knee or if I submit him – he can go home and have something to focus on [where] that’s what happened, that’s what allowed me to win: I just caught him.
“But if I crush him, if I beat him at what he does best…I’ll forever own him.”
It took eight rounds, a couple drug suspensions and an arrest, but Jones appears to have reached his goal in writing the final chapter of the Jones v Cormier feud…and perhaps Cormier’s career altogether.
In light of this defeat, it’s doubtful the 38-year-old Cormier will return to the octagon. Jones was the final insurmountable hurdle in a long career, where Cormier has nothing else left to achieve.
Farewell DC, you will be missed.