Alex Chambers’ UFC 210 Preview: Daniel Cormier & Anthony Johnson Epic Light Heavyweight Title Rematch


Daniel Cormier v Anthony Johnson | Sunday, April 9, 1.30pm (AEDT), KeyBank Center, New York

It’s no surprise the UFC has a penchant for creating epic rematches between the best.

Of all the ones we’ve seen and the ones we would like to see, UFC 210's main event is one of the most special and let me tell you why.

The story of the light heavyweight belt begins with Jon Jones scheduled to meet Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson at UFC 187 in 2015.

A dramatic turn of events outside of the organisations control just weeks prior vacated the belt bringing top challenger Daniel 'D'C Cormier together in the Octagon with 'Rumble' for the interim light heavyweight championship. 

After becoming champ, the public consensus was still not convinced he was the rightful heir of the heavyweight thrown.

After defending successfully against Alexander Gustafsson and then winning a three-round war against Anderson Silva at UFC 200 (non title fight), it was clear that the only way he could prove his merit would be via a monstrous win with someone in his division like Jon Jones or Anthony Johnson.

With the champ willing to fight anyone and anytime, two more heartbreaks ensued when his finally scheduled bouts against Jon Jones at UFC 200 and 'Rumble' at UFC 206 were cancelled (the latter via injury).

Fast forward to a few days from now, with each fighter having full camps and no outside derailments, an obvious emotional whirlwind is about to be settled in the Octagon. 

It’s obvious why Daniel 'DC' Cormier and Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson are perfect candidates for chaos.

Let's start with the champ's impressive resume. DC is the former Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix champion.

He is 18 and 1 (the only loss coming to former champ Jon Jones via decision) and the publically touted unusually built  light heavyweight boasts 11 finishes over his opponents, six via TKO and five via submission.

In addition, the three-time fight bonus recipient has vicious cardio for days and can take the fight the distance when he needs to. 

Opposite to him is Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson.

What makes this fight different is we are seeing a 'Rumble 2.0' who is mentally and physically as hungry for the belt as he has ever been.

Since his last defeat (coincidentally his last meeting with 'DC'), he has consecutively demolished three of the light heavyweight divisions deadliest fighters, Jimi Manuwa via early round 2 KO, Ryan Bader via round 1 KO, and Glover Teixeira via round 1 KO.

The scariest part is these performance of the night highlight reels came faster each faster each fight. Rumble is clearly on a destructive momentum and DC is next up on his path. 

The beauty of this rematch is that DC and Rumble's initial meeting gave each of them a significant feeling out process most fighters aren't given again.

DC is a pure wrestler (if not the best in the UFC). I don't expect the fight to be a replica of the last because of the evident emotional and physical transformations that have taken place to make this fight happen.

A split second was all it took to drop the current champ and I believe he’ll train to avoid this.

DC is an intelligent fighter and he’s one of the few to have survived Rumble's hands.

He’s going to stick with what he is best at and that is eluding his opponents by using his striking to mask his wrestling arsenal and take the fight to the ground (where he finished Rumble via RNC at UFC 187).  

The odds have spoken favouring the challenger entering Buffalo's main event.

Just as many thought Rumble could overtake DC at UFC 187 the same holds true for UFC 210.

What will be different this time around? His defeat from DC obviously served him a valuable lesson about the champ's resilience and timing.

I expect Rumble to preserve his stamina to his advantage in this fight and to be more selective of when he engages with the crafty wrestler

All things aside, nothing has changed in Rumble's fight game except an exponential increase in his ferocity. 

Unibet Odds: Daniel Cormier 2.00 Anthony Johnson 1.75

Tip: Cormier

Method of Victory: Cormier by submission

Total rounds: Under 3.5

Other tips:

Unibet Odds: Chris Weidman 1.87 Gegard Mousasi 1.78

Tip: Weidman by decision 

Unibet Odds: Katlyn Chookagian 1.57 Irene Aldana 2.30

Tip: Chookagian via decision

Unibet Odds: Will Brooks 1.36 Charles Oliveira 3.00

Tip: Will Brooks via submission

Unibet Odds: Thiago Alves 2.40 Patrick Cote 1.53

Tip: Thiago Alves via decision

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