Jon Jones reclaims title at UFC 214
Light heavyweight stops Cormier in the third round
ANAHEIM, CALIF. Jon Jones reached the pinnacle of mixed martial arts and then fell harder than just about anyone had before.
When he got back on top Saturday night by stopping his greatest rival in dramatic style, Jones vowed to appreciate everything he had lost and regained.
Jones reclaimed his UFC light heavyweight title by stopping Daniel Cormier in the third round with a vicious head kick and a finish on the ground at UFC 214, completing his rocky journey back to the top after two and a half years of drama with his 14th consecutive victory.
He fended off a stiff challenge from Cormier (19-2), who held the belt for most of the past two years while Jones (23-1) dealt with selfinflicted setbacks outside the cage. His title belt has been stripped twice, and he endured a year-long suspension for a doping test failure before returning to beat Cormier for the second time.
“I feel like I’m leaving my past behind me and I’m erasing everything I’ve done before,” Jones said. “I feel like this is a step to a new career, a new championship, and I want to be a better champion than I was in the past.”
After two and a half rounds of even, high-level striking, Jones landed a left head kick that caught Cormier leaning in. The champion staggered backward and then around the cage with Jones in pursuit, and Jones finished the fight on the ground with a series of merciless strikes.
Jones was widely considered the world’s top pound-for-pound mixed martial artist while he held the belt for nearly four years from 2011 to 2015. He beat Cormier by clear decision in their first bout in January 2015, but had fought just one time since.
Jones lost his belt in early 2015 for his involvement in a hit-andrun incident in which a pregnant woman’s arm was broken. In July 2016, Jones was pulled from a rematch with Cormier for his drug test failure.
Earlier, Cris (Cyborg) Justino became a UFC champion for the first time, stopping Tonya Evinger in the third round to win the vacant featherweight belt. Tyron Woodley also defended his welterweight title with a clear decision over Demian Maia, thoroughly frustrating the Brazilian jiu-jitsu master in a fight that drew loud boos from the Honda Center crowd.
Former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler squeaked out a unanimous decision victory over Donald (Cowboy) Cerrone in another compelling matchup on the UFC’s most stacked card of the summer.
Jones’s next opponent for the 205-pound belt could be Swiss sensation Volkan Oezdemir, who kicked off the show with a 22-second knockout of Britain’s Jimi Manuwa.
After Oezdemir got the Anaheim fans on their feet with a vicious first-round stoppage for his fifth consecutive victory, Lawler (28-11) and Cerrone (32-9) kept them up with an entertaining three-round striking exhibition. Notes: UFC boss Dana White said Canada’s Georges St-Pierre will fight middleweight champion Michael Bisping for his expected November return.