Bitter rivals Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones will do battle for all the marbles at 205 lbs with the undisputed UFC light heavyweight title only part of what’s on the line tonight. This isn't just a title fight. It's personal.
For Cormier, this is possibly his final chance to avenge his loss to Jones at UFC 182 - his only defeat in the sport - while for Jones, tonight’s title fight represents an opportunity to reclaim everything he lost when his career went off the rails so spectacularly last summer.
Cormier is the champion, but Jones holds all the aces. He’s younger, he’s taller, his fighting arsenal is more diverse and, crucially, he looks to be in the best shape, both physically AND mentally, that we’ve seen in many a year.
Cormier has it all to prove, while Jones is simply looking to return to his place at the top of the sport. Jones knows he can beat Cormier. He knows he can take the Olympic wrestler down, and he knows he did it all before while coping with his various demons that meant he was fighting at only a fraction of his full potential.
Now stung by his experiences at the hands of the anti-doping authorities and, more crucially, the law, Jones appears to have cleaned up his act and looks laser focused on the job in hand. I suspect simply beating Cormier won’t be enough. He’ll want to put an exclamation point on it.
I have a feeling we’ll see Jones weather an early barrage from Cormier then take over the fight, eventually submitting the champion in the later rounds.
Jones to win
Jones by submission