Daniel Cormier is set to debut for the UFC after a lengthy wait. On April 20, he will take on former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir at UFC on Fox 7. However, that is not the fight most are looking forward to.
After winning his fight at the final Strikeforce event, Cormier took to the microphone and made it clear that after he gets past Mir, he wants Jon Jones and the UFC light heavyweight championship. Getting past Mir will be no easy task, but let's assume he does win that fight.
Cormier is the first real threat to Jon Jones and his championship run.
Jones has been dominant during his UFC tenure. His title run has been even more dominant as he continues to mature and grow as a fighter. His physical attributes are massive advantages in the division, and he knows how to use his natural gifts.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort are the list of victims thus far. Just reading those names aloud and realizing what Jones has done makes him the most accomplished 205-pound fight ever.
Potential future title contender Dan Henderson offers not much more than a puncher's chance against Jones.
Cormier, however, poses a different set of problems for Jones that could put the champion's back against the wall.
Jones' physical advantages along with his overall skills have allowed him to dominate most everyone, but Cormier can strike with Jones and take him down.
Corimer is an elite, world-class-level wrestler. Jones is not. If Cormier can get in the clinch against Jones, it is likely the champion will end up on his back, and that is something we have yet to see. How will he react with Cormier on top of him?
Jones has honed his striking over the years, but he is still not one of the best strikers in the division. And we have seen Jones get hit before. Cormier has devastating power. Would Jones risk getting clipped against Cormier? He may have to.
Jones would undoubtedly enter as the favorite, but for the first time, he would be in there against a fighter with a legitimate chance to dethrone him. No matter how good his previous opponents have been, Jones was never in any danger against those men. That is not the case with Cormier.
Cormier's abilities make him the best possible stylistic opponent for Jones. It should be the fight fans clamor to see. We would get to see Jones pushed to be his best self to defend the championship. That is something we have yet to see. He has been that dominant.
The former Oklahoma State standout could be the man to knock off Jones. Depending on how the schedule shakes out in 2013, we could see that fight late in the year, but Dan Henderson is in front of the pack for the next title shot.
That would give Cormier more time to acclimate himself to the light heavyweight division and continue his growth as a complete mixed martial artist. Jones may want to demand to fight Cormier as soon as possible.
Cormier is the most dangerous opponent for Jones, and he only grows more hungry by the day.