UFC 178 was supposed to be headlined by a rematch between Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson for the Light Heavyweight Championship. Their first fight at UFC 165 was a legit contender for greatest fight of all time. Jones won by decision, people like me (Jones haters) consider the decision to be controversial. But it was a unanimous decision, not a split, so it isn’t as controversial as people like me wish it was.
Both men looked not just impressive, but genuinely great in their five round slug fest for the ages. Because Jones defended his belt, there was no guarantee of a rematch no matter how much the UFC fan base salivated for one. Gustafsson removed all obstacles by winning his next two fights, clearing his way for another shot at the light heavyweight crown. Unfortunately, Gustafsson suffered a knee injury during training and had to withdraw from the fight.
Daniel Cormier has been announced as the new opponent from Jones in September. Cormier is a very worthy contender, as he is undefeated in both UFC and Strikeforce. Cormier is so undefeated, he hasn’t even lost a round in fifteen professional fights.
The but in this case is a very big but.
Now that he has a world title shot and a huge payday waiting for him in less than 60 days, of course Cormier doesn’t need surgery anymore.
UFC just canceled a pay per view due to an injury, they don’t want the egg on their face of having to do it again. More than the egg on the face, they certainly don’t want to lose all the revenue that would be lost from canceling two world title fights in three months.
Jon Jones is not a paper or fluke champion. There is a case to be made that he is the most dominant champion in UFC or mixed martial arts history. Therefore, putting anything short of an equal parts worthy and healthy contender against him is a full-fledged sham. It is not easy to say that a 15-0 contender getting his earned title shot is a sham, but if he needs knee surgery, then he will be a shell of himself.
Not to mention, how do you replace a fighter with a knee injury with another fighter with a knee injury?!
When substance is lacking, style and ballyhoo take over (see Michael Bay movies). Daniel Cormier has probably uttered two sentences of smack talk during his entire career, now he’s fighting people at press conferences? Give me a break. This fight is a joke, the UFC knows it, the fighters know it, and they are ratcheting up the hype machine to fool casual fans and themselves that the UFC 178 main event is legitimate. Jones vs Cormier is a money grab, pure and simple. It might as well take place at this year’s WWE Summerslam.
Jones has been eating up and spitting out worthy, healthy challengers for years. What is he going to do to someone who just a month and a half ago needed surgery in two different parts of his knee?