Let's Get Real: Daniel Cormier Can't Beat UFC Champ Jon Jones
Even though Josh Barnett fancies himself the MMA promo-cutting champion, Daniel Cormier showed the world how to do a post-fight interview right.
In less than a minute, the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion capped off his last appearance in the promotion by calling out UFC fighters Frank Mir and Jon Jones, vowing to defeat them both in back-to-back bouts.
That would be quite a feat, but there's just one little problem.
Cormier can't beat Jones.
Make no mistake, Cormier is a great heavyweight, and probably one of the best wrestler-turned-MMA-fighter standouts that the sport has ever seen.
But Jones is just better.
Before even comparing their respective skills, let's point out that Cormier is already assuming he'll get past Frank Mir in the first place. Mir's definitely lost his step in recent years, but looking past him just might prove to be a very costly error in judgement.
Mir is one of those crafty veterans who can catch you when you least expect it, and wrestlers aren't exactly a bad matchup for the jiu-jitsu master.
So, that just brings us back to Jones, the longest-reigning light heavyweight champion in over four years and the possible future pound-for-pound MMA king.
When one objectively compares Jones and Cormier, they're almost mirror images of each other in several ways—and many of them don't favor Cormier.
Size and Reach
Can Cormier beat Jon Jones?
Jones is one of the absolute biggest fighters in MMA, standing at 6'4" in height with a giraffe-like 84.5-inch reach. That's just the first hurdle that puts Cormier at a seemingly insurmountable disadvantage.
Cormier's strength lies in being able to close the distance on his opponent, often slamming them to the mat and wearing them out.
But at 5'11" and with a mere 71 inches on his reach, he would actually be the smallest and shortest-ranged fighter to ever challenge Jones in his UFC career.
Forget trying to kick Jones' ass. Cormier will be lucky if he can even reach it.
Striking and Wrestling
Some MMA fans and pundits are still questioning Jones' chin, even though he went toe-to-toe for full fights with Stephan Bonnar (one of the sport's most durable brawlers) and Rashad Evans (one of the sport's hardest punchers).
Cormier likely has plenty of power, but it's doubtful that at 205 pounds he'll have the mass to put a dent in Jones' chin. What's far more likely is that he'll chase "Bones" around the cage for 25 minutes while eating kicks to his knees and already-damaged kidney.
So, what about the wrestling, Cormier's wheelhouse as a former Olympian?
Although Jones is most likely vulnerable on his back, the champion knows better than to grapple with a superior wrestler if he can help it. Just like the frustrated Evans at UFC 145, expect Cormier to come up with empty hands.
Age and Athleticism
At 33 years old (soon to be 34 in March), Cormier is no spring chicken. He's arguably already past his athletic prime, and his body has already failed him on weight cutting once due to kidney failure—a tale recapped wonderfully by Sports Illustrated's Loretta Hunt.
Jones, however, is just getting started.
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Although his skinny frame hasn't completely filled out, the Greg Jackson MMA prodigy has already conquered much of the sport at a mere 25 years old. Earlier last year, Jones wasn't even able to rent a car without paying a premium (not that he could drive one now).
Cormier is fighting time and physical mileage as much as he's fighting Jones, and his younger foe will enjoy all the benefits of a faster, supremely healthy body.
Fighting Style and Ruthlessness
If this all comes down to a battle of "good guy vs. bad guy," Jones' notable mean streak will also be a key difference maker.
Although we alluded to it before, Jones fights dirty when he wants an edge. Push kicks to the knees, fingers in the face, razor-sharp elbow strikes and more are all part of his well-rounded arsenal, and it makes him one of the sport's more dangerous men.
Cormier just doesn't fight dirty, or at least, he hasn't exhibited a need or desire to do so.
As Chael Sonnen says, "If you're not cheating, you're not trying." Jones is always trying, willing to be as underhanded as necessary to keep his title reign going—squeaky clean Cormier might not be ready (or able) to do the same.
So, there you have it.
When you took at the whole picture, Daniel Cormier just doesn't have the tools or the physical attributes needed to beat Jon Jones.
Even if Cormier beats Mir and manages to cut the weight it takes to get to Jones' division, the Strikeforce star will barely be able to touch the UFC titan.
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