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USA Today

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (21-1) is the best fighter in the world. If that was a controversial statement before he dispatched undefeated Olympian Daniel Cormier (15-1) by unanimous decision at UFC 182 on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, it's surely a given afterward.

It wasn't just that Jones, 27, beat Cormier, 35, a top heavyweight who dropped down a weight class to avoid a collision with his teammate Cain Velasquez, the heavyweight kingpin. It was the way he beat Cormier, half athletic god and half message-board troll, his two sides working together to create a truly memorable night.

"I don't like Daniel Cormier," Jones, who won 49-46, 49-46, 49-46, said after the fight on Fox Sports 1. "I don't respect Daniel Cormier. I hope he's somewhere crying right now. I'm sure he is."

To understand the level of animus in UFC 182's main event, you have to understand how the two men ended up in the cage in the first place. It's the story of giant egos, wounded pride and transcendent talents.

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USA Today

LAS VEGAS—In pre-fight interviews leading up to UFC 182, Daniel Cormier told Jon Jones that he hoped Jones would finally be the man who could be his equal.

He got what he wanted, and then some.

Through five mostly-thrilling round atop an otherwise lackluster UFC 182 card, Jones cemented himself as the best pound for pound fighter in the history of mixed martial arts by doing, once again, what he likes to do best: fight his opponents in their strongest area. On this night, that meant Jones became the first man to take Cormier to the canvas. And then he did it again. And again. And again.

Cormier was game. This loss wasn't a reflection of his own status as a mixed martial artist. He is clearly close to the top of the light heavyweight division. The problem is that Jones isn't even on top of the heap any more. He's in the stratosphere, looking down on a pile of ruined bodies.

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USA TODAY Sports

LAS VEGAS — The Ultimate Fighting Championship has acquired the complete video libraries of eight of the most famous and respected mixed martial arts promotions in the history of the sport.

The libraries of Pancrase, Extreme Challenge, Cage Rage, Hook and Shoot, TKO Canada, King of the Cage, UCMMA and XFO are in the process of being secured and flown to the United States. From there, the tapes will be digitized and added to the digital subscription service beginning in the spring.

The announcement was scheduled to be made during a special media conference on Saturday afternoon prior to the start of UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier.

In an exclusive interview on Friday afternoon, Zuffa Chief Content Officer Marshall Zelaznik told Bleacher Report that the success of the Invicta promotion led the Fight Pass team to explore new options for adding more content libraries. In particular, heavy usage of the Invicta library on Fight Pass indicated that hardcore fans, coaches and fighters around the world would be willing to utilize more hours of archival content.

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USA Today

This is the one we've all been waiting for.

After one change in opponent and a bevy of knee surgeries, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will finally defend his title against Daniel Cormier on Saturday at UFC 182.

Are we stoked? Dude, we're more than stoked. What comes after stoked? 

If Jones-Cormier even halfway-kinda lives up to the hype, we might see Fight of the Year honors wrapped up during the very first event of 2015. The rest of the card ain't too shabby, either.

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USA Today

Controversy, as always, is swirling around Jon Jones (20-1). On Thursday, it was a hallway war of words. What it will be tomorrow, no one can say.

The UFC light heavyweight champion has managed to stuff a career's worth of drama into just a few short months in the lead up to his fight Saturday with two-time Olympian Daniel Cormier, a fight that will, finally, bring one of MMA's greatest feuds to a close.

The bad blood started years ago with Jones' offhand claim he could take Cormier to the mat. Cormier, a proud wrestling legend, was not amused. That was the beginning. But the two were separated, at the time, by a weight class and by promotional boundaries. Nothing came of it except simmering anger.

It began in earnest last August with a scuffle at a pre-fight media appearance, a dustup that included a tumble off the hastily constructed stage, a terrified UFC PR flack and even a thrown shoe.

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Aaron Sweet/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS — Of the many UFC "rivalries" over the years, 98 percent of them are fake, created out of thin air for the purpose of selling pay-per-views.

We have heard endless stories of fighters who hate each other, only to see them hug after the fight and admit they were just trying to sell it. Fans are jaded when it comes to these kinds of things, and rightly so, because they have been burned before and expect to be burned again.

But when it comes to Saturday's UFC 182 main event between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, they can rest assured that the hatred is 100 percent real.

This should be obvious to anyone who saw Jones and Cormier's faceoff devolve into a wild brawl in the lobby of the MGM Grand last summer. That moment created a sense of anticipation that arrives whenever Jones and Cormier are scheduled to face off again.

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Getty Images

Jon Jones is the greatest mixed martial arts fighter in the history of the sport. A combination of carefully honed skill and innate physical tools, he's run roughshod over one of the UFC's glamour divisions.

Besides a struggle with Alexander Gustafsson in a fight he eventually won, there's been no sign that Jones will relinquish his title any time soon. In fact, if anything, it's been too easy for the young prodigy. After seven successful defenses, Jones, and the audience, have seemingly grown a little comfortable. 

Olympian Daniel Cormier, however, is the kind of man to knock you right out of your comfort zone.

When Jones enters the cage to defend his UFC light heavyweight belt, it will be more than just a typical title fight. Cormier has the physical gifts and specific skill set to give Jones a real test, to push the young champion just as he comes into his physical prime. 

Jon Jones' Secret Weapon

By on January 1, 2015

62,458 reads

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AP Images

Brandon Gibson says the first time he studied film on Daniel Cormier, he was in a truck stop outside Amarillo, Texas.

It was mid-summer, and Gibson was on his way home from visiting family in Ohio. He was nearing the end of the marathon drive back to Albuquerque when UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones called with breaking news. Top contender Alexander Gustafsson was out of their UFC 178 bout with a knee injury. Now, Jones would fight Cormier instead.

Gibson was somewhere out on I-40 when he found out all the work they’d put in preparing to rematch the lanky, 6-foot-5 kickboxer would go to waste. The way he tells the story—and certainly he’s paraphrasing—his response to learning Gustafsson would be replaced by the stocky, undefeated former Olympic wrestler was two words.

“All right.”

If anything, maybe that’s Gibson in a nutshell—serene exterior, calculated, a little bit zen—but inside, his trainer’s brain was already spinning. The next time he pulled over for gas and discovered the roadside truck stop had Wi-Fi, he slipped out his phone to see what he could see on the new opponent.

The Olympian

By on December 31, 2014

105k reads

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Photo courtesy Daniel Cormier

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Daniel Cormier slumps in a metal folding chair. He leans his head back, blood pouring from his nose. A cutman shoves Q-tips up his left nostril in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

Moments earlier, Cormier was in a cage at American Kickboxing Academy. After going three rounds with a near 300-pound super heavyweight, Cormier was sparring with a very small middleweight. He was exhausted but mostly frustrated that he couldn't catch his speedy sparring partner.

He went one way, the middleweight went the same way, and the end result was Cormier dripping blood all over the floor.

His nose is not broken, which is a relief. He has traveled great distances to get to this point, and an injury would be heart-wrenching. He came from Lafayette, Louisiana, making stops at Oklahoma State and the United States Olympic team. And now, he's preparing to face Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight championship Saturday in Las Vegas at UFC 182.

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USA Today

Daniel Cormier has made a lot of smart choices during the extended lead-up to Saturday night's UFC 182 clash against Jon Jones.

You could argue, in fact, that the undefeated former U.S. Olympic wrestling team captain has yet to make a wrong turn during his five-year MMA career. Certainly, Cormier's impressive amateur credentials had him set for success all along, but he's also been savvy and thoughtful enough to cop to a certain amount of cold, hard pragmatism.

He was already 30 years old when he made his MMA debut in 2009 and will be just two-and-a-half months shy of turning 36 when he tangles with Jones on Saturday. Cormier knows full well that the clock is ticking on his athletic prime and that this fight may well represent his last best chance both to win a world title and make a lot of money in the process.

His distaste for all things "Bones" Jones is obviously very real, but we'd be foolish not to acknowledge that these two guys have also put on a masterclass in fight promotion during the last six months or so—they both probably know exactly what they're doing.