One of the most intense rivalries in the history of mixed martial arts came to an end just after midnight in Anaheim. Despite his best efforts, Daniel Cormier (19-2) came up short in his quest to avenge the only loss of his professional career to a returning Jon Jones (23-1). He’d also lose his light heavyweight title in the process, making Jones the second 2-time light heavyweight champion in the history of the UFC alongside UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture.
Jones would put the pressure on his opponent right out of the gate but that didn’t stop DC from knocking Jones’ mouthpiece out early with a vicious uppercut. The story would be the volume and variety of Jones’ attacks, even though Cormier was able to land some solid strikes over the top and back up his opponent for a good portion of the contest.
Although Jones was getting the better of Cormier through the first two rounds, the fight was still up for grabs when Cormier dipped right into a head kick from Jones that sent him into retreat mode where he would eat some elbows and strikes before referee Big John McCarthy would rescue him from further damage.
“I made it back man. It’s such a beautiful moment,” Jones told Joe Rogan after recapturing the title that was stripped from him after that infamous hit-and-run incident back in the Spring of 2015. “I did a lot of right things to get back in this position. Anybody at home who let yourself down, let your family down, let your peers down, your co-workers down, you let yourself down, it’s never over. As long as you never quit it’s never over.”
An emotional Jones would go on to thank Cormier for being his biggest rival and motivator.
“He [Cormier] has absolutely no reason to hang his head. He has been a model champion, a model husband, a model father, a teammate, leader and I aspire to be a lot more like that man. He’s an amazing human being,” Jones told Rogan before kissing a visibly emotional Cormier on the back of the head.