Cormier was the No. 4-ranked heavyweight, and one of the fighters in line for a potential title shot dating back to his Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix victory. However, his teammate Cain Velasquez stands on top of that mountain.
Thus, Cormier moved to 205, where he has bad blood with the champion Jon Jones. That fight makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately for everyone, Cormier does not deserve the title shot...yet.
UFC 170 was supposed to pit Cormier against one of the best light heavyweights of all time in Rashad Evans. Had Cormier beat Evans, then he would have elevated himself into that top contender position, but an injury forced Evans out. In stepped Patrick Cummins.
Cummins did a good job of talking a big game and making fans care about the fight, but the bottom line is that he is nowhere near Cormier's level. It showed.
Cormier annihilating a UFC newcomer like Cummins is not what should earn a title shot. Also, the top contender in the division is Alexander Gustafsson. And Gustafsson has a big fight coming up against No. 10-ranked Jimi Manuwa.
If Gustafsson defeats Manuwa in any fashion, he has the next title shot. After all, Gustafsson is the only fighter to make Jones look human. He narrowly missed becoming the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion in their first meeting.
Cormier should not leapfrog Gustafsson by merely defeating Cummins.
The Olympian needs to fight at least one top contender in the division to prove he is the rightful challenger. Who will that be? Timing will answer that question. There are a number of possibilities, but it is hard to project this far out.
No one should be pining for Cormier-Jones due to what Cormier did to Cummins. That was what was expected against an overmatched foe who came in on short notice.
Jones vs. Cormier is a premier fight that will garner a lot of press, should it happen, but now is not the time.
If Gustafsson slips up against Manuwa, then we can start to put Cormier in that discussion. Then again, Glover Teixeira could make all of this a moot point by upending Jones at UFC 172 in Baltimore.
There are a lot of moving parts at 205, and those parts all move Cormier out of title contention as it stands today. There is no doubt that Cormier is one of the very elite fighters going today, and the UFC should continue to build towards his title bid.
Cormier's next outing should be a title eliminator. He is not far out of the title picture, but he does not deserve next.
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