Daniel Cormier once again successfully defended his UFC light heavyweight championship, scoring a second-round submission win over Anthony "Rumble" Johnson in UFC 210's main event at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York on Saturday.
Rumble immediately pushed the pace, looking to pressure Cormier and even putting his back to the fence. Rather than take advantage of his power in the stand-up game, Rumble looked to take down Cormier. What resulted was a round that was mostly spent with the two jockeying for position against the cage.
Mike Bohn of MMAjunkie voiced the concern for Rumble's fight IQ, tweeting what pretty much anyone watching the bout was thinking:
Despite Rumble's odd approach, Josh Gross of The Guardian gave the round to Johnson in an uneventful affair:
While Rumble's so-crazy-it-just-might-work plan looked good in the first, it took a quick turn south in the second round as a familiar sight began to form. Johnson once again looked to work the clinch game, but this time DC scored the takedown.
Cormier went to work in transitions and took Johnson's back. From there it was deja vu all over again as he sank in the rear-naked choke and forced the tap to retain his belt. UFC tweeted the aftermath:
Mike Chiappetta of Bleacher Report noted the remarkable similarity in most of Rumble's losses throughout his career:
After the bout, Rumble had a surprise announcement, calling it a day on his career, per Ben Fowlkes of MMAjunkie:
And of course, Cormier had to take the opportunity after the fight to talk about longtime rival Jon Jones, per MMA Fighting:
The win and title run continues to solidify Cormier's billing as the No. 1 light heavyweight in the world who's currently allowed to compete.
The 6'4" elephant in the room—of course—is Jones. Inside the cage, Bones has proved to be unstoppable to any man at 205 pounds, including the current champion. Jones defeated Cormier by unanimous decision in January 2015 to hand DC his first and only career loss.
The two were supposed to run back their first encounter at UFC 200, but the fight was called off days before the pay-per-view after Jones tested positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition sample.
That doesn't mean the fight is off the table, though.
Speaking in February, UFC President Dana White insinuated that when Jones is eligible to come back to fighting in July, he'll do so looking to get his belt back.
"Jon Jones is supposed to return around July so the timing is perfect. I haven’t talked to him. I have not talked to Jon Jones since the whole incident [at UFC 200]," White said, per Jed Meshew of MMA Fighting. "Depending on where Jon's head is and where he thinks he is, I would assume he would come right back and try to get his title back."
There's still bad blood between the two light heavyweights, too. Cormier hasn't stopped voicing his opinion of Bones, and his presence at UFC 210 was just the last thing for him to sound off on, per Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting (via Milan Ordonez of Bloody Elbow):
If I was suspended for anything, especially for something whatever it may have said to be, there’s no way I’m out in public. I’m staying home, I’d lick my wounds until my suspension is done, and then I’d come back out. But I think that says a lot about your character. Because are you truly sorry for what you did if you’re really still willing to prance around even though you’re still actually under suspension?
Realistically, Jones is one of the few intriguing options remaining for Cormier. The 38-year-old has now beaten Rumble twice and Alexander Gustafsson once. Those two are already ranked as the top two contenders, according to the UFC's rankings.
Glover Teixeira is technically next up according to those rankings, but the difference in draw between Teixeira and a rematch with Jones is big.
With Rumble now out of the picture, Jones-Cormier II is the only fight to make in the light heavyweight division.