MANILA – A long feud between two of the best mixed martial artists in the world ended on Saturday in Anaheim, California, when Jon “Bones” Jones brutally stopped Daniel Cormier to win the light heavyweight belt once more in the main event of UFC 214.
Jones, widely regarded as the best light-heavyweight of all time and one of the greatest fighters ever, was patient in the first two rounds, allowing Cormier to tag him with short punches.
In the third round, however, he cleanly landed a left kick to Cormier’s head, staggering the champion. Jones showed no mercy, firing off a kick to the body that dropped the groggy Cormier to the mat, and unleashed punishing ground-and-pound.
The referee stopped the fight at the 3:01 mark of the third round, officially giving back Jones the belt that he never lost inside the cage.
“It’s unbelievable, man, it’s a surreal moment,” said Jones, whose issues outside of the Octagon – including a hit-and-run incident, accusations of doping, and a stint at rehab – had drawn more attention than his achievements inside of it.
Jones improved his MMA record to 23-1 with his victory; his lone loss remains a disqualification against Matt Hamill all the way back in 2009.
An emotional Cormier could not hold back his tears after the loss, with the veteran fighter later saying “I don’t even know what happened” in a brief post-fight interview.
After engaging in a rivalry for almost five years, Jones sought to bury the hatchet after his victory, as he lauded Cormier as “a model champion, a model husband, model father.”
“I thank Daniel Cormier for being my biggest rival and motivator… He is a true champion for the rest of his life,” said Jones, who comforted a crying Cormier following the bout.
The loss dropped Cormier to 19-2 in his MMA career; both of his losses came at Jones’ hands.
The night ended on a literal “mic drop,” however, when Jones called out former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
“Brock Lesnar, if you want to know what it’s like to get your a** kicked by a guy who weighs 40 pounds less than you, meet me in the Octagon,” said Jones, before dropping the mic and exiting the Octagon with his belt.
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