For the first time since 2011, the light heavyweight division has a new champion. And his name is Daniel Cormier.
The former Olympian defeated Anthony "Rumble" Johnson via third-round submission in the main event of UFC 187 from MGM Grand in Las Vegas. MMA Junkie tweeted out the official result:
Both Johnson's trademark power and Cormier's signature wrestling were on display from the beginning. Rumble rocked Cormier in the first minute with a massive overhand right that has ended the day of many fighters in the past. But DC prevailed by tossing Johnson to the mat and closing the distance in the clinch.
Jeremy Botter of Bleacher Report noted that Cormier did exactly what he needed to do after getting rocked early:
The second round started with a sense of deja vu as once again Rumble appeared to be one strike away from a knockout win at all times until Cormier scored a takedown. This time, DC looked to sink in a kimura. He couldn't quite lock in the submission, but he spent the majority of the round in top control, bludgeoning Rumble with vicious ground-and-pound.
Johnson attempted to switch things up in the third round. Going back to his own wrestling background, he scored a takedown against Cormier, but it was all for naught. Cormier worked his way back to the feet, took him down once again and eventually worked his way to Rumble's back.
From there, Cormier put in the rear-naked choke against an exhausted Johnson, and a new champion was crowned.
The win is the pinnacle of a long journey to UFC gold for Cormier. It's well-documented that the 36-year-old fell just short of a bronze medal in wrestling in the 2004 Olympics before turning his sights on the MMA world. Now he can finally say the word "champion" on one of the largest combat sports stages in the world.
Still, it's going to be hard to escape the massive shadow of Jon Jones. The pound-for-pound kingpin was stripped of his title for his behavior outside of the cage after his involvement in a hit-and-run accident, per UFC.com.
Cormier sees himself as the real champion, though. Speaking with Fox Sports' Damon Martin earlier this month, DC noted that a champion's duty goes beyond the field of combat:
I feel like it's the real title. I mean, neither Anthony nor I did anything to make him get stripped of his belt. This was Jon's doing and no one else's. Being a champion takes more than skills inside of the Octagon. You've got to be able to carry yourself in a certain manner and represent this sport in the best light.
If and when Jones gets his house in order, he'll jump right back into the title picture.
"He comes right back and fights for the title," Dana White told Jim Rome. "He hasn't had the time Anderson Silva's had, but he's the most dominant champion. If you look at the murderer's row of the 205-pound division that he went through, and he just went through it like a hot knife through butter, I mean he's the man. Whenever he gets his stuff together, he can come right back and fight for the title."
For now, fans are looking at the era of Cormier.
It's an era that feels a lot more open than the one featuring Jones. "Bones" had all but picked the 205-pound division clean. With Cormier at the top of the food chain, many more interesting possibilities exist.
Fighters like Alexander Gustafsson, Ryan Bader and Rashad Evans sit in the top five of the light heavyweight rankings as of May 23. Previously they were just victims on Jones' long list of victories. Once again they are now legitimate contenders.