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Jones Decisions Cormier, Bad Blood Still Boils

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LAS VEGAS, January 3 – Some may not like UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, others may paint him as the “bad guy,” but there is no denying how good, or even great, he is, as evidenced again on Saturday night, as he settled his score with heated rival Daniel Cormier by way of unanimous decision in a grueling UFC 182 main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

That doesn’t mean emotions still aren’t running high, at least as far as the champion is concerned.

“He’s only human,” a heated Jones said at the culmination of a feud that had gone on for months. “All the crap he talked, it motivated me. Sorry I’m being classless right now, I don’t like DC.”
> Watch: Jon Jones Octagon Interview
“I just couldn’t find my rhythm tonight," Cormier said. "Jon is the best for a reason and he was the better man tonight.”

Scores were 49-46 across the board for the 27-year-old Jones, 21-1, who made his eighth successful title defense. TheJones lands a left body kick loss was the first for former Olympic wrestler Cormier, 35, who falls to 15-1.

Jones opened with several close range kicks as Cormier tried and failed to get the fight to the mat. A body kick by Cormier was then caught by Jones and turned into a takedown. Cormier got to his feet and continued stalking. Jones attempted another takedown but was turned away, drawing a roar from the crowd, which proceeded to chant “DC, DC.” With just under three minutes left, Jones jarred Cormier briefly with a couple punches upstairs, but the Louisiana native got right back to work and tried to jab his way in. Jones was on target with his strikes though, showing some of his best accuracy to date, especially with body punches. Cormier ultimately got the last word with a hard uppercut just before round’s end.

The champion’s body work continued in round two, as he slammed a kick into Cormier’s midsection. Cormier took the shot well, but a subsequent takedown attempt came up short. In the second minute, the two locked up against the fence, Cormier briefly trying a guillotine choke before separating. Cormier, bleeding from the nose, then went on the offensive, forcing Jones into a clinch. Both fighters got off hard strikes at close range, Cormier slightly busier as the bout began to turn into a grueling battle in the trenches.
> Watch: Jon Jones Backstage Interview

Jones went back to his kicking game to start the third, utilizing his height and reach advantage to its fullest. Cormier was able to close the distance and get off his punches on the inside, with each flurry drawing a roar from the crowd. The action was halted briefly after a poke in the eye by Jones 90 seconds in, and when it resumed, the two traded takedown attempts, both coming up short before the two went into the clinch again, jockeying for position while firing off short blows. After breaking, Jones got off some long-range shots, but Cormier was back in the champion’s chest soon enough. Jones kept scoring until Cormier rallied late, making it another hellish round for the judges to score.

Jones and Cormier exchange blowsAfter some hard kicks in the opening moments of the fourth round, Jones dumped Cormier on the mat twice, the second time working for a choke briefly until “DC” rose to his feet. Jones kept the challenger pinned to the fence, sporadically finding making enough room to fire off punches. With under two minutes to go, Cormier got free and tried to get the points he lost back, but Jones wasn’t having it, and he was able to smother his foe’s offense enough to secure his best round of the fight.

Cormier came out fast for the final round, yet his inability to take Jones down resulted in another clinch against the fence that was controlled by Jones. Finally after a long period of grappling against the fence, Cormier got his takedown, slamming Jones emphatically to the mat. Jones got up immediately, avoiding another takedown just before the final horn.