In perhaps the most anticipated fight of 2014, Jon "Bones" Jones puts his title on the line to take on the undefeated Daniel Cormier on September 27th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. But which fighter should we take in our UFC picks?
It's time! is indeed the familiar refrain we hear echoing from the mellifluous pipes of announcer Bruce Buffer whenever the main event of the evening is about to begin. And though we still have 49 days, 14 hours and 49 minutes remaining (but who's counting?) until Jones and Cormier exchange unpleasantries in the Octagon the war of words has already escalated into a full blown melee. A planned UFC media day where Jones and Cormier were to face one another on the dais and scowl for the cameras turned violent last week when Jones foisted his forehead upon the nose of Cormier who immediately responded with a hefty push sending Jones back a few paces before the champ responded with an overhand left.
Naturally, the big dudes sporting the word SECURITY on the back of their shirts instantly swarmed to break up the pair while the hastily built backdrop sporting UFC logos and sponsors collapsed amid the fray. Although UFC commentator Joe Rogan, who is a personal favorite at this address, decried the skirmish as bad for the sport I disagree. We are beyond trying to sell the sport to the mainstream. The rules have been cleaned up, Fox is on board as a major network carrier and the only people left calling the UFC barbaric are those who will never be convinced otherwise. You can't please all the people all the time but you do need to please your audience. And this tete-a-tete did nothing but create even more interest in a fight that was at a fever pitch the moment it was announced.
However, if other fighters decide to manufacture pre-fight shenanigans in order to increase the hype then that will surely have a deleterious effect on an organization that some believe is more WWE than MMA. The passion must be real and the feud genuine like that of the Jones/Cormier variety if these antics can be tolerated. In this case the sparks were organic and there was nothing contrived which is why this fight is reminiscent of the two toughest kids duking it out at the playground after school. At 205 pounds these are the two top dogs (with apologies to Alexander Gustafsson) and we shall see who's got the bark and who has the bite.
I will analyze this fight in more detail as the match approaches but my initial reaction to Jones vs. Cormier is thank you Alexander Gustafsson for getting injured. I say that because as much as I would love to see a rematch between Bones and The Mauler, I am even more intrigued with Cormier as an opponent. He can do something that Gustafsson can't and that's wrestle. While Gustafsson's takedown defense was superb in his title fight with Jones, he could not engage on the mat but only deftly defend Jones' advances.
Cormier will be happy to accommodate a ground-and-pound game plan. I cannot wait to see how that turns out for the champion who, until this point in his career, has had no equal once the fight falls to the floor. September 27th can't come fast enough and I may actually be in attendance to witness two of the most feared fighters in all of MMA do what they do best.
As of this writing PaddyPower.com is dealing about the lowest odds on the champ at -175 in UFC odds therefore if you're a Bones backer or a chalk eater then the Irish bookmaker should be your book of choice for this event. However, if you believe the former Olympic wrestler and undefeated MMA warrior Daniel Cormier will prevail then might I suggest Ladbrokes.com who is currently offering +175 on the underdog.