And still… UFC Light Heavyweight Champion of the world, Jon “Bones” Jones! The undisputed champion added yet another scalp—maybe the best in Daniel Cormier. The hyped fight delivered for the most part as the two engaged in a fast-paced scrap from the ring of the bell but gradually slowed to a predictable decision. With the win Bones now has eight successful title defenses making him only one shy of Georges St. Pierre and two from the all-time UFC record held by the legendary Anderson Silva himself. Love him or hate him, but Jones is firmly entrenched in the GOAT discussion.
The rest of the PPV was without too much incident although there were a few underdogs from the prelims who made a name for themselves. Here’s the biggest winners and losers:
Defended Light Heavyweight Title against Daniel Cormier; extended title defense record to eight
He may never get the respect Georges St. Pierre got or the adulation Anderson Silva received but Jon Jones may be just one or two more fights away from laying claim to the “GOAT” status. The undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion handily outclassed the formerly unbeaten Owrestler, Daniel Cormier taking him down not just once but five times while only surrendering one. It’s become pretty clear Jones is on a level on his own and keeps getting better with each fight. Be grateful to bear witness to the greatest talent the sport has ever seen.
Should Fight: Alexander Gustafsson-Anthony Johnson Winner
Bones should fight either at some point but the winner of this matchup in two weeks logically determines his next opponent: either a fight against the hottest fighter in the division or a rematch with the man who came closest to beating him
Dominated Myles Jury; extended winning streak to six, tied for longest active win streak in the division
Outside of Jones, “Cowboy” came out of UFC 182 as the most impressive winner. Cerrone thoroughly dominated the undefeated Myles Jury in every aspect outstriking him 37-15 and coming close to submitting him multiple times in the opening round. A frustrated Cerrone then unleashed a torrent of leg kicks on the grounded Jury to make a statement. School is in session.
Should Fight: Khabib Nurmagomedov
The only fight you could make for Cerrone at this point (outside his last minute replacement fight with WEC rival Benson Henderson); originally set for UFC 178 before a knee injury to Khabib, this fight determines the next true contender
Knocked out Marcus Brimage in UFC debut; delivered on promise with special friend
“I’m going to make it to the UFC.” The newest Team Alpha Male standout improved to 6-0 (all by T/KO) after he took Marcus Brimage’s best shots (including two groin shots) and put away the dangerous striker late in the third. The win comes on the heels of a promise Gabrandt made to Maddux, a five-year-old leukemia patient who promised him back, “I’m going to beat cancer”. Maddux’s cancer is reportedly in remission and Garbrandt made it to the octagon.
Should Fight: Yves Jabouin
The Tristar veteran isn’t shy at throwing down and would prove a decent gatekeeper test to see if Garbrandt is ready for a top-15 foe
Destroyed Alexis Dufresne in UFC debut; earned an apology from Dana White
The Californian was originally snubbed for The Ultimate Fighter 18 when Dana White told her she was “too old”. Not only did Reneau receive an apology from White, but she opened a can of whoop-ass on Alexis Dufresne to the score of 30-26 30-26 30-25; first fight of 2015 and already a contender for “Beatdown of the Year”. Here’s to Reneau for proving that age is just a number.
Should Fight: Jessica Rakoczy
It seems fitting to match Reneau with a former TUF18 cast member and Rakoczy has the boxing chops to make it scrappy and is also around the same age
Hit the biggest knockout of the event over long-time veteran, Danny Castillo
Felder easily had the highlight of the night. The “Irish Dragon” knocked Danny Castillo out cold with a spinning back fist. The Renzo Gracie fighter improved to 9-0 and put the division on notice by decimating one of its long-time veterans. A rapid move up the ranks is plausible.
Should Fight: Alan Patrick
“Nuguette” is another X-Gym prospect with fire in his blood and coming off two notable UFC wins; this fight will prove to be a highly explosive affair
Lost UFC Light Heavyweight title shot; undefeated record snapped
Cormier was a former Olympian, NCAA Division I All-American wrestler and formerly undefeated MMA fighter. None of that nor the pre-hype smack really mattered as he was outclassed by the champion. Wrestling, which was allegedly his advantage was irrelevant as he managed one meaningless takedown. For the first three rounds “DC” kept it close and peppered the champ but lost steam as Jones took over the final rounds. Cormier was humble in defeat and vowed a comeback. Given the division’s lack of prime contenders, it’s likely DC will be back in the title hunt sooner than later
Should Fight: Rashad Evans
Originally booked for UFC 170, this is still a tasty matchup for either fighter; Rashad is currently booked to fight Glover Teixeira but regardless of his result, this is the fight to make
Defeated by Donald Cerrone; undefeated record snapped
Jury joined Cormier as another unbeaten fighter to taste defeat for the first time. “The Fury” was only a slight underdog to the more experienced Cerrone but laid a sizable egg. Jury was taken to the ground and nearly submitted then proceeded to fight too defensively and seemingly settled for a decision loss. Losing to Cerrone is not embarrassing but a Vegas crowd booing a Cerrone fight is
Should Fight: Bobby Green
Not unlike Myles Jury, Green had his hype train derailed in a deflating loss to Edson Barboza. Both fighters are still relatively young and have a future as a contender and a match could determine which of the two is closer to realizing that potential
Lost clear-cut decision to Brad Tavares; has now dropped four of last five fights
Once upon a time Nate “The Great” Marquardt was a top three Middleweight and a Strikeforce Welterweight Champion. How quickly things turn as Marquardt dropped a lackluster decision to Brad Tavares. Marquardt never got anything going as the Hawaiian outstruck him easily. The former champion may have hit the lowest point in his career and is in danger of losing his UFC spot a second time
Should Fight: Mark Munoz
Currently booked to take on Roan Carneiro, Munoz has been on a two-fight skid and has lost three of his last four. The loser of this match isn’t likely to get cut given their status but it’ll determine which vet may be getting a visit from Uncle Dana soon
Lost to Hector Lombard on his UFC return fight
It’s tough to put Burkman in the “losers” category as he alluded to being sick and malnourished during the fight. Despite this, Burkman managed to get a few good shots at Hector Lombard and survived the Cuban beast until a decision. His stock didn’t drop much from the loss but it’s still a loss.
Just watched the fight 4 1st time. I look sick, malnourished, depleted, slow… Good thing I’m tough, that’s about all I was working with.
— Joshua Burkman (@JoshBurkman) January 5, 2015
Should Fight: Mike Pyle
Another veteran of the sport in need of a big rebound win; Pyle was recently knocked out by Jordan Mein. The winner of this match could see himself back in a ranked fight while the loser should toil the throes of gatekeeper purgatory permanently
Missed weight and lost lopsided decision to Marion Reneau
Even without the scathing commentary from Joe Rogan, Alexis Dufresne looked downright awful against Marion Reneau. The BJJ expert looked slow and clueless on her feet as Reneau violently bloodied her face. On top of this, Dufresne missed weight yet again. Sad to say but this may be the last time she fights in the octagon at least for the meantime.