UFC 182: Can Donald Cerrone Leapfrog Rafael dos Anjos with Big Win?

In the co-main event of UFC 182 on Saturday night, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will be looking for his sixth straight victory when he takes on undefeated lightweight contender Myles Jury. Jury is 15-0 in MMA, and if Cowboy can hand him his firs…

In the co-main event of UFC 182 on Saturday night, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will be looking for his sixth straight victory when he takes on undefeated lightweight contender Myles Jury. Jury is 15-0 in MMA, and if Cowboy can hand him his first loss, he could possibly leapfrog Rafael dos Anjos for the next UFC lightweight title shot.

Dos Anjos earned his spot as the No. 1-ranked lightweight contender by winning in eight of his last nine UFC outings, losing only to Khabib Nurmagomedov by decision in that stretch. He put a three-round hurting on Nate Diaz in his most recent fight, causing UFC president Dana White to say that he’s likely next in line for the title, per Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog.

With lightweight champion Anthony Pettis coming out of his UFC 181 title defense against Gilbert Melendez with no serious injuries to speak of, he should be ready to face the next challenger some time in the first half of 2015.

Cerrone has said in the past that he wants to stay active inside the Octagon, per John Morgan of MMA Junkieand his schedule has proven that, so he won’t sit out waiting for a title shot. He even took to Twitter after his last fight to express his discontent that Jury wouldn’t be ready to fight a month sooner.

 

He’s taken on the best available competition that UFC matchmaker Joe Silva could plug into his busy fighting schedule, and he has crammed 15 UFC fights into his four-year tenure after coming over from the WEC in 2011.

Dos Anjos is currently ahead of Cerrone in the title hunt, partially because he holds a unanimous-decision victory over Cowboy from August 2013. Cerrone bounced back from that with five straight victories, four of which earned him post-fight bonus awards. Dos Anjos has gone 3-1 since that fight, with his first-round knockout of former champion Benson Henderson being his most impressive performance.

Even though dos Anjos has beaten Cerrone already and has not fought the current champion yet, which is something that Cerrone admittedly can’t say anything about, Cowboy should get the title shot if he beats Jury.

If you look at what both Cerrone and dos Anjos have done inside the Octagon over the past two years, Cerrone’s resume starts to look a little better. Four fights in 2013, four more in 2014 and a big fight on the first show of the new year makes Cerrone one of the most active lightweights in the UFC. Conversely, dos Anjos has six fights in the same stretch.

It isn’t just the quantity of fights that makes the case for Cerrone, but also the quality of his wins. His strength of schedule puts Cerrone in a class of his own. He’s got two TKO wins over Jim Miller, both of which occurred within seconds of each other.

He ripped through Edson Barboza in less than one round and didn’t bat an eye at welcoming Eddie Alvarez to the UFC. Dos Anjos’ victories over Diaz and Henderson were very impressive and significant, but Cerrone’s have been equally dominant.

Part of the reason that Cerrone wanted to face Jury is because after a dominant decision victory over Diego Sanchez, Jury told Joe Rogan he was “surprised by how easy it was” to defeat the storied Sanchez, per Dana Becker of FightLine.com.

It may have come off as cocky to Cerrone, but it wasn’t just boasting. Jury did make it look easy to beat Diego Sanchez that night, although Sanchez did offer up food poisoning as an excuse for being so beatable.

Jury followed that one up by storming through Takanori Gomi with a first-round TKO. He’s somewhat quietly racked up six wins in the UFC lightweight division, but his most recent wins have made some noise and earned him his No. 8 UFC.com ranking, as well as landing him in a fight with Cowboy.

A win for Jury would be his biggest yet, and a win for Cerrone would put him on a six-fight winning streak. If Cerrone comes out on top at UFC 182, his case for the next title shot is complete.

Cerrone has fought more often and won more often overall over the past two years in the UFC than dos Anjos. If he kicks off 2015 with a victory over Jury, the UFC should plug Anthony Pettis into the busy schedule of Donald Cerrone.

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Jon Jones calls it ‘relieving’ that people got to see his ‘ratchetness’ during hot mic promo

Jon Jones was initially offended when he saw the commercials promoting UFC 182.
There he was, fighting Daniel Cormier in the lobby of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. And then he appeared again, calling Cormier a “p*ssy” and telling him he’d lite…

Jon Jones was initially offended when he saw the commercials promoting UFC 182.

There he was, fighting Daniel Cormier in the lobby of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. And then he appeared again, calling Cormier a “p*ssy” and telling him he’d literally kill him on camera during a heated exchange he believed was not being recorded.

Wasn’t that the press conference brawl that got Jones and Cormier disciplined by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) and denounced by the UFC? Wasn’t it embarrassing that profane hot mic footage was “leaked?”

Jones, the UFC heavyweight champion, was unhappy both were being used for marketing purposes. But he wasn’t shocked, either, pointing back to his decision not to fight Chael Sonnen on short notice at UFC 151 and UFC president Dana White burying him publicly for the event being canceled.

“It’s just the UFC,” Jones said on a media conference call Monday. “UFC 151 got cancelled and instantly my image got ruined overnight. That taught me a lot — it really did — about the UFC. So, them using that to promote fights, it doesn’t surprise me. I’m just gonna go with it. It’s what I said, it’s my quotes and I’ll live with it.”

After a few weeks to think about it, Jones is actually somewhat happy that footage of him and Cormier was widely circulated. Jones felt like it showed fans a different side of him — the person he is when the camera isn’t rolling (even if that time it was).

“For that hot mic to come out and for people to see that side of me, it was kind of a relief,” Jones said. “Because it’s like, you know what? I am a Christian and I do try to carry my image in a certain light, because I think it’s important for the people I inspire and for endorsements. But at the same time, this is who I am. I will swear. I will tell a guy who told me he would spit in my face that I would kill him. I would call him the names I called him. It was a bad hit in a way, but also relieving that people could see, ‘Whoa, Jones has a little ratchetness in him.’ They finally got to see that.”

Jones, who meets Cormier at UFC 182 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, said he has made a conscious effort not to swear during his career with an eye toward endorsements and being a role model. Jones admits that he has taken measures to protect his brand in that way.

“As a professional athlete, as a champion, as a Christian and as a person who’s not close to being perfect, I always try to be a professional and that’s why I have so many great endorsements, because I do carry myself like a person they would want to endorse,” Jones said. “But me, with my friends and family, I’m a real dude. I am just me.”

Jones, 27, is now “grateful” that another part of him was shown to the world. While Jones is extremely conscious about what other people think of him, it seems like that is eroding with every fight. Jones has grown tired of trying to please fans who don’t seem to want to be pleased, the haters who come at him with vitriol on social media.

“It’s like so dumb,” Jones said. “It’s like, ‘Dude, you’re fake.’ I’ve been hearing that I’m fake for so many years, it’s like OK. Who cares if I’m fake? I win fights and that’s what I’m here to do. I’m not here to win you over [with] my personality. I’m here to fight. That’s ultimately my job.”

He’ll do that Saturday against Cormier. It could be his toughest challenge yet, but for the most part Jones had made things look easy. He was the youngest champion in UFC history and has defended the light heavyweight title more times (seven) than anyone in history. If he does it three more times, he’ll tie Anderson Silva’s record of 10 consecutive title defenses.

Jones also stands to make a windfall from this fight with Cormier. Their hatred of each other is organic. There’s nothing fake about it. The money both are going to make is pretty real as well, which is perhaps another reason why Jones isn’t so upset anymore about that footage being put out there by the UFC.

“When I saw it, right away I did know it would be a good promotional piece,” Jones said. “I thought, ‘Wow I can’t believe they used that.’ But at the same time, I was like, ‘Dude fans are gonna eat this up. They’re gonna love it.’ And a part of me was kind of glad it came out.”

Nike didn’t drop Jon Jones due to Daniel Cormier brawl: ‘I kind of owe an apology’

Jon Jones told the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) in September that he lost his endorsement deal with Nike due to his infamous brawl with Daniel Cormier during a press event in August. Jones admitted Monday that wasn’t exactly true.
“When …

Jon Jones told the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) in September that he lost his endorsement deal with Nike due to his infamous brawl with Daniel Cormier during a press event in August. Jones admitted Monday that wasn’t exactly true.

“When I was in front of the commission, I definitely worded it wrong,” Jones said on a UFC 182 media conference call. “Nike did not drop me because of that fight and I kind of owe an apology to Nike for saying they dropped me because of the fight. They actually didn’t. Nike has been known to support its athletes through much worse things than a brawl in the middle of MGM [Grand].”

Jones said months earlier his Nike representative told him that the apparel company was moving away from its association with MMA. Jones said the rep told him that he could continue on with his contract, but it was clear that he wouldn’t be getting all the things he was initially promised, like commercials.

“I said, ‘You know what, if you guys aren’t too serious about martial arts, then I don’t want to be a part of the company,'” Jones said. “Hopefully, I can respectfully leave.”

Nike agreed and gave Jones, who had just finished his second year on the deal, an out in his contract.

“It was already official,” Jone said. “Everybody at headquarters knew. My team knew that I wasn’t gonna do my third year with Nike. And then we got into the brawl.”

At that point, Jones said his rep called him and said maybe it was best to part ways a little earlier. So, that’s what happened. Jones said the actual circumstance did not come out correctly in front of the commission. Both Jones and Cormier were fined and had to do community service as penalty for the incident.

“The truth of the matter is, I did not get dropped by Nike,” Jones said. “It was a mutual thing, something we had discussed months before the actual fight.”

Jones has subsequently signed a deal with Reebok, the company the UFC will use as its official uniform sponsor. Obviously, Reebok is much more invested in MMA right now than Nike and Jones is happy about that.

“These guys are taking mixed martial arts very seriously,” Jones said. “They’re taking me very seriously as an athlete.”

Jon Jones: Breaking Down What Makes the Pound-for-Pound Best so Great

Twenty-one times Jon Jones has entered the fighting platform. Twenty-one times Jones has walked away victorious (seriously, go ahead and ask Matt Hamill if he thinks he won that fight). And all but once has Jones made it look easy. Too easy. 
He’s…

Twenty-one times Jon Jones has entered the fighting platform. Twenty-one times Jones has walked away victorious (seriously, go ahead and ask Matt Hamill if he thinks he won that fight). And all but once has Jones made it look easy. Too easy. 

He’s made the Lyoto Machidas, Mauricio “Shogun” Ruas, Quinton “Rampage” Jacksons, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belforts and Chael Sonnens of the mixed martial arts world look like amateurs. Even with his limited amount of experience, Jones has managed to capitalize on his Iowa Central Community College wrestling pedigree to stake his claim as one of the best—if not the best—fighters the sport’s ever seen.  

But what exactly makes Jones so much better than most of his competition? What puts the champion head and shoulders above the sea of very competent 205-pound contenders the UFC has to offer? Let us examine the ways: 

 

Unparalleled Reach

This is probably the most obvious aspect that has made Jones such a success inside of the cage. The UFC light heavyweight champion harbors an 84.5-inch reach, about 10 inches more than what many of his former opponents have laid claim to. He’s capable of keeping most of his opponents at bay with a stiff jab or straight right, forcing some of the most vicious strikers in the division to look like beginners.

But the previously mentioned measurement—only tabbing the champion’s arm length—doesn’t do justice to what Jones actually possesses. Jones’ lankier limbs—the ones that keep him upright inside of the cage—are truly where he’s made a name for himself. 

 

Unorthodox Striking

Having above-average reach is one thing. Being able to utilize it to one’s advantage is another. Just look at Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva who owns about a four-inch reach advantage over most of his opponents. Even with his evolutionary reach, Silva’s played victim to the knockout five times in his career. One of those times came against Daniel Cormier, a fighter who conceded an 11-inch reach advantage to the larger Silva. 

But Jones has made good of his gifts. He doesn’t take them for granted by allowing himself to become a punching bag for any fighter, no matter the size. As mentioned earlier, he’s competent enough to know that a stiff jab and a solid straight right are enough to make his opponents whiff. But it’s his capacity and creativity as a striker that take him to the next level.

A stiff jab is nice. A stiff straight standing elbow is nicer. A lot nicer. And for as much as people want to complain about his controversial, but totally legal, oblique kicks, just know that he’s got those too. 

 

Unabridged Wrestling

And while his creative striking may be enough to carry him to unforeseen heights, it’s his National Junior College Athletic Association wrestling that has afforded him such liberties. He’s comfortable throwing endless oblique kicks and spinning back kicks because he knows few men inside the cage are consistently capable of putting him on his back. 

But he doesn’t just have the confidence in knowing he won’t be taken down—he also has the satisfaction of knowing he’s capable of forcing most of his opponents onto the mat too. Just ask Evans, Bader, Sonnen, Hamill, or Vladimir Matyushenko how difficult it is to not only take Jones down but stop him from taking you down. 

 

Unquestioned Heart

There’s little to say about a man who’s been in several fights without ever really having been in a fight. As mentioned earlier, 21 tried and failed. And they all failed badly. All but one.

That one fighter took it to the champion better than any one of us could have anticipated, leaving many of us to go back and forth on who actually won that fight (it was Jones). The champion was taken down once and hit in the face more times than any of us had ever seen. He was bruised. He was swollen. He was cut.

He was beaten up but not beaten. 

Much like Anderson Silva’s comeback victory against Sonnen or Frankie Edgar’s resurgent win against Gray Maynard, Jones’ victory over Alexander Gustafsson gave us a transparent view into the champion’s character. 

 

Unabashed Confidence

Depending on the environment, Jones may either come off as confident or arrogant. He embraces those who embrace his confidence, while shrugs off those who color him arrogant.

“The Yankees are hated for a reason,” Jones told MMAFighting.com’s Dave Doyle before his bout against Gustafsson. “Whoever is good at anything is usually hated. I’m really comfortable with it. What I’d really like to focus on is how many people support me. I’ve got a lot of support. Nike comes out with things, they sell out in less than a day. Every day I get messages saying they inspire me. If one person writes me a message saying I genuinely enhanced their life, that outweighs 500 haters.”

But what else is expected of a man who—at that point—had never been tested? And even after being tested, after proving to the world that he’s capable of taking everything his biggest test had to offer, Jones remained confident. He had no reason not to be. It’s this sort of confidence, the sort of intangible aura that surrounded Silva during his historic middleweight title reign, that brings Jones to the next level.

 

Untapped Potential

He owns a reach that few others can match, a set of strikes that few can defend and wrestling that few other can contend with. But that’s not the scariest part of what Jones has to offer.

He’s a 27-year-old champion with only six years of professional experience under his belt. While some fighters reach their peak and begin to look like lesser versions of themselves with each passing Octagon appearance, Jones gets better. He looked unstoppable against Shogun to win the title; he’s looked pretty unstoppable since.

We may still be a few years away from seeing the best Jon Jones that Jon Jones has to offer, and that’s scary.

 

Kristian Ibarra is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA. He also serves as the sports editor at San Diego State University’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Aztec. Follow him on Twitter at @Kristian_Ibarra for all things MMA. 

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In A Lifetime of Challenges, Daniel Cormier Confronts the Fight of His Life

SAN JOSE, Calif.
Daniel Cormier knows the moment is coming. At some point, inside the Octagon against Jon Jones, his world will be rocked. He will be caught with a punch or vicious elbow. Maybe he gets trapped in a submission hold.
It’s going …

SAN JOSE, Calif.
Daniel Cormier knows the moment is coming. At some point, inside the Octagon against Jon Jones, his world will be rocked. He will be caught with a punch or vicious elbow. Maybe he gets trapped in a submission hold.
It’s going to happen, and then he will have to reach deep within himself.
Cormier is a man who not only is undefeated in mixed-martial arts but also has never even lost a single round. And yet he still understands what it means to fight through adversity, despair and unfathomable pain. 

Get The Details

What: UFC 182 – Jones vs … Read the Full Article Here

He Is The Bad Guy. Jon Jones is OK With That

ALBUQUERQUE
Jon Jones is accustomed to answering the UFC’s bell with reckless abandon. And with a real sense of timing.
The man known as “Bones” for his rangy frame took his first UFC fight in 2008 on two weeks’ notice. Four s…

ALBUQUERQUE
Jon Jones is accustomed to answering the UFC’s bell with reckless abandon. And with a real sense of timing.
The man known as “Bones” for his rangy frame took his first UFC fight in 2008 on two weeks’ notice. Four seconds into his title shot in 2011, Jones used an acrobatic flying knee to make a dramatic statement: The UFC light heavyweight belt owned by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua rightfully belonged to him.
Jones has held onto the title ever since, wiggling out of a Vitor Belfort arm bar, absorbing a massive strike by Lyoto Machida and conquering Alexander G … Read the Full Article Here