Tears of resignation streamed down Daniel Cormier’s face, as he arrived at the same cold reality as everyone else in the mixed martial arts world: Jon Jones is a man without peer at 205 pounds.
Jones regained the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title and improved to 2-0 in his head-to-head series against Cormier with a stirring third-round knockout in the UFC 214 main event on Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Cormier yielded to blows 3:01 into Round 3, having never been finished in 20 previous professional appearances. A perfectly timed head kick was the catalyst.
Despite Cormier’s best efforts, “Bones” once again proved to be the superior fighter. According to FightMetric, he outlanded “DC” in all three rounds -- 34-31 in the first, 30-24 in the second and 31-5 in the third -- while denying all three of his attempted takedowns. Jones connected with 30 leg kicks and delivered 32 significant strikes to the body, nearly three times the number of his rival.
In the aftermath of UFC 214 “Cormier vs. Jones 2,” here are five matches that ought to be made:
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson: Jones returned from 15-month layoff to reclaim his throne and close the book on his rivalry with Cormier, dispatching the American Kickboxing Academy captain with a third-round head kick and follow-up ground-and-pound. Now 30, “Bones” has rattled off 13 consecutive victories since being disqualified against Matt Hamill at “The Ultimate Fighter 10” Finale in December 2009; and with wins over Cormier (twice), Glover Teixeira, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Quinton Jackson, Ryan Bader and Mauricio Rua, he has a legitimate claim on the greatest fighter of all-time mantle. Gustafsson last competed at UFC Fight Night 109 on May 28, when he brought down Teixeira with a volley of uppercuts in the fifth round of their main event. The Swede gave Jones perhaps his toughest test to date in losing a unanimous decision four years ago.
Tyron Woodley vs. Georges St. Pierre: Though the audience was less than enthralled by his performance, Woodley nevertheless got the job done against 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Demian Maia in the co-main event. He denied all 21 of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt’s takedown attempts, as he claimed a unanimous decision and retained the UFC welterweight title. Woodley owns a 5-0-1 record across his last six appearances and has settled in as champion. St. Pierre in February agreed to terms on a multi-fight deal with the UFC. The former titleholder has not fought since November 2013.
Cris Cyborg vs. Megan Anderson: Justino laid claim to the vacant women’s featherweight championship, as she put away Tonya Evinger with knee strikes and follow-up punches. “Cyborg” toyed with Evinger for two-plus rounds before forcing the stoppage, popping her with sharp punches from the outside while chipping away at her base with leg kicks. Justino, 32, has now won titles in the UFC, Strikeforce and Invicta Fighting Championships, and she will carry an eight-fight winning streak into her next outing. Anderson has emerged as the sport’s top young talent at 145 pounds under the Invicta banner, as she has recorded consecutive finishes against Amber Leibrock, Amanda Bell, Peggy Morgan and Charmaine Tweet.
Robbie Lawler vs. Jorge Masvidal: Lawler was back in the Octagon for the first time in a year and did not disappoint, as he walked away with a unanimous decision over Donald Cerrone in a three-round welterweight showcase. All three judges scored it 29-28. Lawler blitzed “Cowboy” with punches and knees in the early moments of the first round, withstood a difficult middle stanza and put together a strong final five minutes before crossing the finish line. Now operating out of Henri Hooft’s Combat Club, the “Ruthless” one has won six of his last seven bouts, a knockout loss to the aforementioned Woodley his only misstep. Masvidal, who once trained alongside Lawler at American Top Team, has compiled a 9-5 record since he arrived in the UFC in April 2013.
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Glover Teixeira: Nothing gets the attention of the masses quite like the quick knockout. Oezdemir has recorded two of them in the span of two months. The Swiss upstart needed just 42 seconds to blast through Jimi Manuwa with a left hook and follow-up punches on the ground in their high-stakes clash at 205 pounds. Oezdemir finds himself on a five-fight winning streak and his finished his last two opponents -- Manuwa and Misha Cirkunov -- in 1:10 combined. A consummate pro with a long track record of success, Teixeira has won four of his last six fights and remains a staple of the 205-pound weight class. Only Jones, Gustafsson, Anthony Johnson and Phil Davis have beaten him in the UFC.