UFC 210 Preview
The Light Heavyweight division is back in the spotlight as Daniel Cormier puts his belt on the line against a familiar opponent in Anthony Johnson.
The two previously faced off at UFC 187 almost a year ago in a fight that was never really supposed to happen.
Originally it was Johnson’s title shot against Jon Jones but after Jones got in trouble outside of the octagon the UFC called Cormier to get a second chance at the Light Heavyweight title.
For Cormier, it was a second chance after losing to Jones, which was his only loss in the UFC.
In Johnson’s case, it was a big change to a good opponent that he immediately had to adjust to in order to take advantage of his title opportunity.
The first time they faced off things worked out much better for Cormier who played to his strengths and took the submission win in the third round.
For the fans, the fight wasn’t what they were hoping for as they were there to see two great strikers stand and bang, although nobody could say whether or not Jones was set to take the fight to the ground.
Instead, they saw Cormier use his far superior wrestling ability to take the fight to the ground and keep it there.
It wasn’t necessarily a great display of Jiu Jitsu or a fantastic ground game but rather a grinding wrestling match that played into the hands of Cormier.
The fight was far from the most exciting but it was one that got the title into the hands of one of the greatest wrestlers to fight in the UFC.
What it didn’t do was win over many fans on the side of Cormier who has struggled in a major way in getting fan support.
His lead-up to the fight against Jones did not win him any fans either but despite the multiple issues of Jones outside of the octagon, the former champion remains one of the most popular fighters in the game.
The fact that he never lost the belt yet Cormier remains the champion doesn’t do anything for Cormier either.
The biggest thing though is the fact that Cormier has a tendency to put on boring fights for the fans and doesn’t seem to understand why the fans boo.
Cormier was great when coming up as he was an exciting prospect for the heavyweight division before moving down to light heavyweight.
When he started to rise through the ranks he became a safer fighter and ever since he won the title against Johnson he has used his wrestling to grind out fights.
He takes his opponents down and grinds out wins which doesn’t inspire confidence that his fights will be the most exciting.
The challenge for Cormier is to ignore the fans and their opinions of how he fights and to just win the fights.
It would make no sense for Cormier to go in against a great striker and try to stand and bang with him.
That is what Johnson presents as he is one of the most powerful strikers in the light heavyweight division.
He can end a fight in an instant and all it takes is one punch so when fighting him it would take a certain level of ego, and stupidity, to stand and trade blows.
Cormier won’t likely do that because he knows that his stand-up doesn’t match up to Johnson.
It isn’t that Cormier is a bad striker, in fact, he has earned his share of knockouts, but testing the power of Johnson is not something that any fighter would want to do.
Cormier did a good job of weathering the storm in their last fight taking some big shots from Johnson but the smart move is what he eventually did, taking the fight to the ground.
Cormier should do the same this time around as Johnson is not a great wrestler, when compared to Cormier, and avoiding the power of the challenger.
If Cormier can do this he might remain the champion but if he lets the fans dictate the fight and he tries to stand to prove something he could end up on the canvas.
Cormier isn’t the fighter to let the fans dictate the fight though and he will try to take the fight to the ground while Johnson looks for the shot that will end the fight and get him a title.