UFC: Why Daniel Cormier Could Be the Man To Beat Jon Jones at Light Heavyweight

Matt SaccaroContributor IIISeptember 11, 2011

LAS VEGAS - JUNE 15:  Daniel Cormier (blue) celebrates his win over Damion Hahn (red) in the Freestyle 96kg division championship match during the USA Olympic trials for wrestling and judo on June 15, 2008 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Neveda.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Even after his epic win over Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, few MMA fans know the name Daniel Cormier. However, this will one day change. Cormier will become one of the most legendary figures in the sport. How? By beating UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

Jones is a great competitor, but Cormier has several distinct advantages that Jones has yet to see in an opponent so far.

First, Cormier is an Olympic level wrestler. He has faced the best wrestlers in the world and has beaten many of them. He came fourth in the 2004 Olympic games and was part of the Olympic team in 2008, but had to bow out due to kidney failure.

What makes Cormier's wrestling so dangerous is his rapidly expanding knowledge of kickboxing. Cormier is training under the tutelage of Javier Mendes at the fabled American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, and it showed in his fight against Silva.

AKA is undergoing a new renaissance and is beginning to give Greg Jackson's gym—the home of Jon Jones—a run for its money. Rarely has there been a wrestler with such fluid, precise and powerful strikes! This is the work of AKA.

Another distinct advantage that Cormier will bring to the cage is size.

Cormier currently competes at heavyweight, but is carrying around a lot of excess bulk at that weight. A drop to the light heavyweight division is totally plausible, and even likely, considering that fellow AKA member Cain Velasquez happens to be UFC heavyweight champion.

AKA fighters (namely Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck) have been adamant about not fighting each other in the past, and it's unlikely that particular stance will change any time soon.

Cormier will therefore have to drop to light heavyweight when the UFC either absorbs the Strikeforce roster, or brings Cormier up to the UFC (one of these two scenarios is inevitable but which isn't certain yet).

How will the fight with Jon Jones play out then (assuming Jones is still the champion by the time Cormier makes it to the UFC)?

The advantages Jones has had over his other opponents—wrestling, striking and overall athleticism—won't exist in a fight with Cormier.

Cormier can out-wrestle and out-strike Jones (the enormous difference in height and reach won't mean much, as it didn't mean much when Cormier fought Silva) and will have the athleticism to keep up with Jones.

Cormier will bring the fight to Jones like no other fighter has before, he will grind on him, push the pace and batter him until Jones either breaks, or the fight is over. Either way, Daniel Cormier will see his hand raised at the end of a fight with Jon Jones.


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