This weekend UFC fans will get a late Christmas present in the Light Heavyweight Title clash between Champion Jon "Bones" Jones and Daniel Cormier. Using Sun Tzu’s masterpiece, “The Art of War,” to break down the fight, I can predict with 100% certainty that one of these fighters will walk away with the belt or your money back.
1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the moral law? (Who is harder to finish?)
- Neither guy has ever been finished in their professional MMA career. Jones showed he can withstand heavy fire in his fight with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165. Furthermore, at UFC 152, Jones also showed his submission defense when he escaped a nasty armbar at the hands of Vitor Belfort. Cormier has never really been in serious trouble, at least not the kind of trouble Jones weathered. What’s kept Cormier out of danger is his technical ability. However, Jones is also notoriously hard to hit, and he’s shown to be able to get through hardships in fights. Advantage: Jones
2) Which of the two generals has most ability? (Who has the better camp?)
- The challenger comes out of the renowned American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. A strong history of championship level talent has been cultivated on these mats including: 1 UFC champion and 3 Strikeforce Champions. Meanwhile, the champ trains under the tutelage of Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jones and Jackson have a special relationship where both guys delve into the breakdown of a fight to come up with a gameplan suited to mentally and physically break opponents. Advantage: Jones
3) With whom lie the advantages derived from heaven and earth? (What advantages surround the fight?)
- Jones has settled into his role as the king of 205. He is no stranger to the pressure of a big fight, and he has gone 5 hard rounds before. Furthermore, the UFC kinda promoted this fight with Jones as the villain, a persona Jones used to avoid. Perhaps this new role will rid Jones of his marketing burden, and free him up to feel more comfortable as the bad guy. It’s hard to gauge how much that will be a factor, but anything that makes Jon Jones more comfortable makes him more dangerous. Cormier on the other hand will be going into his first UFC title fight, and this will be his first 5 round fight at 205lbs. Advantage: Jones
4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced? (Who's in better shape?)
- We’ve only seen Cormier go 5 rounds once, and he did not disappoint. In his 3 rounders he’s dominated his opposition and looked ready for more every time. However, some would say his noted history of struggling with weight could play a factor in his conditioning. No one knows for sure how hard it is for Cormier to make 205, but from what we’ve seen from DC it’s doubtful he will wilt in the later rounds. As for Jones, 5 rounds is nothing new to him, the Gustafsson fight proved he can still throw heat in the later rounds. DRAW
5) Which army is stronger? (Who's stronger?)
- Cheal Sonnen said he was surprised with how strong Jon Jones was in the clinch. This is the same guy who trained regularly with Randy Couture and Dan Henderson, so it’s hard to dismiss his observation. That being said, Daniel Cormier launches grown men in the air like he’s playing with a toddler. Advantage: Cormier
6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained? (Who's more well rounded?)
- Cormier’s striking first came up when he out classed Jeff Monson without using his wrestling. Since then his striking only got better. He can find a home for his right hand, he has excellent timing, and can flurry opponents into cage to set up his world class takedowns. On the ground, I’ve never seen anyone, not even Fedor, control Dan Henderson the way Cormier did. On the other hand, Jones’ record speaks for himself. He can strike, he can wrestle, and he has solid submissions. However, for the first time in his career, Jones may not have the ability to dictate where the fight goes. He has never faced a wrestler the caliber of Daniel Cormier, who can strike and fight on the ground. Advantage: Cormier
7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment? (Who can finish the fight?)
- Jones is a clear finisher. On the feet, Cormier has knock out power, but Jones’ striking can also stop opponents with strikes. On the ground, Cormier has fantastic control for his ground-and-pound and will take a choke if available, but Jones will actively look for submissions while simultaneously dropping the best G-n-P at 205. Advantage: Jones
HOW CORMIER WINS: The challenger will strike his way in on Jones and bully him into the cage. From there he has to be wary of the infighting ability of the champ, but he can mix up takedowns and flurries to keep the champ confused. After a long grueling clinch war, a mix of flurries and takedowns will guide DC to a Unanimous Decision.
HOW JONES WINS: The champ will fluster his opponent with his range and cause Cormier to come in head on and over aggressive. From there look for Jones to land a solid right uppercut while Cormier ducks his head to get inside. The wobbled challenger will stagger back and Jones will swarm. Finishing the fight by TKO.
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