April 23rd. UFC 197. The world will witness the rematch of two of the most bitterest of rivals go toe-to-toe. An ex-Champ will look to reclaim the title that he never lost in the first place to a man he’s already beaten.
Think UFC 182. Daniel Cormier VS Jon Jones. The ex Heavyweight phenomenon and UFC fight analyst had all the tools necessary to beat long reigning Light Heavyweight King, Jon Jones. His domination of Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Patrick Cummins and boy o boy, the way he rag dolled Dan Henderson – he had all the necessary tools.
According to new Middleweight Champion, friend, and long time training partner of Daniel Cormier, it wasn’t Daniels lack of skill, or Jones’s unbelievable talents; it was lightweight Champ’s ‘mind-games’ that put Cormier off his strategy.
Luke Rockhold hints that Cormier was too emotionally invested in the bout and that he let the crowd and other semantics get to him, eventually derailing him off his own game plan, and costing him the fight. When Jones and Cormier faced off, the crowd was booing the Olympian wrestler, deeming him the illegitimate champ in Jones’s absence.
“He played into the “Jon Jones being the bad guy” role too much and let the boos get to him. Just got to block that out. Be yourself. Who cares? If the people like you, they like you. If they don’t, they don’t. If they like Jon Jones, who the f**k cares? He let that get to him, no doubt.”
Rockhold had to calm his friend down and remind him not to let the pressures affect him.
“A little bit. There’s not much to say at this point. I think he kind of lost track of what he was doing there for a second and played too far into “bad guy” Jon Jones and tried to beat him down over outside the cage [issues]. Focus on the technique. Focus on the fight and what’s going to happen. That’s all I had to say, really.”
“Everyone wants to act like it was that lopsided of a fight,” said Rockhold. “It was fairly close. I think DC just needs to relax. The more relaxation he’ll have the more vision he’ll have and the more he can pick his takedowns here and there. I think he had a lot of success in the boxing. Implementing more take downs and staying out of the clinch. Just basic things that are pretty obvious.”
“There’s other avenues that we might be focusing on, but it’s pretty basic information. If you go back and watch the fight, the little areas that he was caught up in. I think he let the stage get to him too much last time and he just needs to focus on relaxing. Relaxation so he can see what’s happening in front of him and what’s unfolding and how to adjust to it.”
No one doubts Cormier’s abilities. If there is a fighter who can match up to Jon Jones, it might just be him. He’s got the superior wrestling, unending cardio, and KO power in both hands. There’s no reason why he should lose this second time around. But to be fair Jon Jones is also a beast. He beats you at your own game and toys with you, breaking the confidence and will to fight before he ends you.