By Patrick Courtois
Though UFC 178 promised to be a huge mega-ratings, masterpiece of combat virtuosity re-match between reigning LH champ Jon Jones (20-1-0) and Nordic challenger and #1 LH contender, Alexander Gustafsson (16-2). It was not to be. Seems the Norse Gods had other plans brewing.
UFC 165 marked the first clash between Jones and Gustafsson. Jones came out victorious and unanimously so. But no one would deny that this was truly Jones’ toughest test and a marquee pivotal point in his career. It showed that Bones could be beaten, that he was mortal after all. Never had he been tested to this extent. It took a fighter of the same height (6’4”), similar reach (79”) and skill level to push him to the point that half the planet decided the bout in the challengers favor. That bout will go down as one of the UFC’s most heavily contested. And for Bones, a supreme example of never resting on one’s laurels and definitely not eating up all your hype. Many thought Gustafsson did what he had to, for the win. But we must never forget that as a challenger, your job is not only to meet the champ on every level but to dethrone and unseat him. It’s not enough to say, “I brought it to Jones”.
He’s the champ for a reason. You need to wh**p his ass. Jones was able to dig deep—no denying the heart of a Lion—and rally in the last round to turn the hand of fate in his favor. Make no mistake. This fight showcased the advent of a masterful force to be reckoned with and an incredible showing from the Swede virtuoso.
The much lauded and buzzed about Bones/Gustafsson re-match was to take place at UFC 178. Unfortunately Gustafsson suffered a torn meniscus, dashing his hopes at Jones.
Enter Daniel “DC” cormier. A worthy replacement indeed. An Olympic caliber wrestler boasting a perfect 15-0-0 MMA record. Truly a machine and wonder to behold when in full masterful flow.
The beef which developed between Jones and DC was nothing short of epic in its incendiary nature. Vitriol, perhaps without precedent in the sport, spewed at a frenetic pace from both fighters. All of it leading to the explosive UFC 178 Media Day stare down brawl at the MGM grand. The culmination? Both fighters putting early beat downs on each other. Days later, both antagonists were caught on Mics prior to an interview, ripping each other to shreds. The most extreme and outrageous of these exchanges included DC threatening to lob a saliva missile on Jones’ face. Jones’ retort? To kill DC were he audacious enough to disrespect him that way.
The build up to this fight, the anticipation and the obvious huge bank it would garner on all levels, made it easily one of the most hotly anticipated fights in UFC history.
But once again, as has become almost ritualistically common place with many UFC events. The specter of injury would want to wet its beak. During camp at Greg Jackson, Bones in midst training with non-other than Alistair “Demolition man” Overeem (37-13-0), tore his left meniscus. Further compounding this injury, earlier during the week he suffered a bad ankle sprain
Let’s let Greg Jackson explain how it went down; “Jones was working to defend a takedown from Overeem in training. It’s part of the game, it wasn’t like … somebody went for a flying kick and dislocated [something],” Jackson told Sherdog.com. “Somebody went for a takedown, [Jones] stepped the wrong way, twisted the wrong way and down he went. He was fighting it, and he just twisted it. And then it just popped.”
Conclusion? Jones is out and by default so is Cormier.
Jones vs. Cormier has now been pushed to UFC 182.
The new headliners for UFC 178 will be of the technical, super-fast, tiny and mighty variety. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (20-2-1) will be defending his belt against Chris Cariaso (17-5-0) in a Flyweight title fight.
Good news, new comers to the card. The Lightweights added as the co-main event inspire massive emotion and draw. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (24-6-0) goes up against Bobby “king” Green (23-5-0).
Cowboy is hugely popular and a fan favorite. That aside, the man is supremely talented. He exhibits the coolest confidence and self-assuredness in the cage. Sure of himself and his abilities, he decries bluster or bravado to make his point. A submission specialist who loves to experiment by making blue cheese out of your brain with head kicks. Cowboy doesn’t play. He comes off a 4 fight win streak that saw him devastate and completely dominate Jim miller, finishing him with head kicks. Look for the cowboy to throw some vicious, precise blasts to the head and liver to devastating effect. If this thing hits the ground, keep your eyes locked on the Jackson/Winklejohn resident’s ability to seamlessly unload his triangle or rear naked chokes.
Bobby Green! Is he being thrown into the Lion’s den in this fight? With a mixed bag of wins, quite a few of which have fallen prey to judge’s decisions and others won by punches, he may just be in over his head with Cerrone. But coming off an 8 fight win streak over some pretty tough competition, namely Pat Healy and Josh Thomson—both via decisions and in 3—he’s certainly proven himself a scrapper who can go head to head with some of the best in the division. Green doesn’t shy away from displaying the aforementioned bravado element.
Here’s how he entices cowboy to a date via twitter: @ufc @Cowboycerrone
“I’m so excited. I finally get to get my hands on Donny. I’ve been waiting for this for a year. Just want you to know I’m going to make your life a living hell. I’m going to beat your ass every round. If u thought Diaz or Pettis worked you, boy”!
Somehow we don’t think cowboy will be receptive!
The addition of Cerrone to any card validates its pedigree and is worth its weight in gold belts. Cool versus bravado. It’s what’s on the menu.
With the additions, UFC 178 now includes:
Champ Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso – for flyweight title
Donald Cerrone vs. Bobby Green
Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero
Amanda Nunes vs. Cat Zingano
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier
Brian Ebersole vs. John Howard
Patrick Cote vs. Stephen Thompson
Kevin Lee vs. Jon Tuck
James Krause vs. Jorge Masvidal
Manny Gamburyan vs. Cody Gibson