The UFC 214 mega card came and boy did it deliver. The top of the card featured Jon Jones recapturing his throne as he became the first man to ever finish Daniel Cormier last night for the UFC light heavyweight championship. The win put the rivalry that lasted nearly three years to bed and while it could be the last time we see Cormier in the octagon for some extended amount of time at least, the MMA game never stops and Jones now faces the question of who is next.
The knockout victory was an impressive way for Jones to put an exclamation point on his long awaited return and he wasted no time calling for his next potential challenge. Brock Lesnar is one of the biggest heavyweights to step into the octagon, biggest in terms of star power, but more importantly in size. While he hasn’t exactly been active as of late except for his victory turned no contest against Mark hunt at UFC 200 last year, there appears to be interest from both sides in turning fantasy into reality. Jones made an interesting point in his post fight presser when he stated that Lesnar, the larger man is in a position where he cannot turn down a challenge from a smaller man in Jones. Jones’ aspirations for a super fight is very much warranted considering the time and dominance he’s displayed inside of the cage. The problem with a fight between both men is that as quickly as it gained momentum, it could disappear considering Lesnar and Jones’ last run in with USADA. Then there’s the fact that the light heavyweight division gained a new contender last night.
Switzerland’s own, Volkan Oezdemir emphatically knocked Jimi Manuwa out in under 60 seconds and while it was clearly a big statement, it was one that was lost in the shuffle due to the nature of the stacked card. Oezdemir is yet another product of bad timing and the lack of notoriety. While his power appeared frightening in his last two outings, Jones and even the media didn’t feel the need to discuss a potential battle between the man who Jones still believes is Russian against the champion who lost the opportunity to fight a true knock out artist when Anthony Johnson retired following UFC 210. Unfortunately for Oezdemir, Brock Lesnar is an even bigger knock out artist gifted with the it factor. Even if Oezdemir did get proper consideration for Jones’ next title defense, there is one man who stands in his way who happens to have history with Jones.
Alexander Gustafsson’s rivalry with Jones reignited following his fifth round knockout win over Glover Teixeira in May. “The Mauler” made it clear that he did not like Jones’ character, and even stated his belief that Jones was using performance enhancing drugs when they fought back in 2013. The back-and-forth scrap led to a disputed decision victory for Jones in a battle that displayed some chinks in Jones’ armor. A rematch was initially expected to occur, but injuries and a knockout loss against “Rumble” Johnson in 2015 foiled the UFC’s plans. The potential rematch is four years in the making and currently possesses fans’ attention, which could mean the 27-year-old Oezdemir might have to take another fight.
Fortunately for fans the only two men ahead of him are Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson. A fight against either of the two would likely make for an exciting battle. Whomever is chosen as Jones’ next opponent, it’s good to have MMA’s top dog back in action. The month of July ended with a bang for MMA thanks to both Jones and Cormier.