The Five Count: Top Storylines from UFC 182 Fallout

Jon Jones UFC 159Jay Primetown takes a look at the five biggest storylines to develop from UFC Fight 182 in Las Vegas, Nevada. #5 Japan’s Finest – In a time where Japanese influence in MMA is at an all-time low, there is one fighter on the cusp of elite from “The Land of the Rising Sun.” Flyweight Kyoji Horiguchi is perhaps the top Japanese MMA fighter in the world today. The 24-year old faced off against Hoboken, NJ-based fighter Louis Gaudinot at UFC 182. Horiguchi showed a really solid all-around game, combining excellent counter striking, leg kicks, and footwork to win a clear decision. In a short time, Horiguchi has amassed a four-fight winning streak in the UFC and has the all-around balance to put him well within the top 10 of the division. In a weight class dominated by Demetrious Johnson, there is a need for fresh faces and new contenders. Horiguchi is on the verge of getting his chance to dethrone “Mighty Mouse.” #4 Importance of a Finish – One thing that cannot be stressed enough to MMA fighters is the importance of earning a stoppage win in a fight. Now, more than ever, are dominant performances being graded higher than simply just wins and losses. On Saturday night, welterweight contender Hector Lombard easily defeated Josh Burkman by decision. However, his inability to push and work for the finish has frustrated UFC President Dana White. Lombard has been clamoring for a shot at the welterweight title, but hasn’t even gotten a number one contender fight. After another unspectacular win, don’t expect Lombard to get thrust into a title bout in his next fight. On the flip side, young prospects Paul Felder and Cody Garbrandt both earned knockout wins over veterans Danny Castillo and Marcus Brimage respectively. Earning victories over quality opposition is one thing, but being able to earn stoppages will significantly increase one’s ability to get quality fights. In a division with over 100 fighters, Felder needed that knockout to stand out from his fellow lightweights and that’s exactly what he did. #3 Anytime, Any Place – Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is becoming the poster child of what the UFC wants from its fighters. The Jackson’s MMA-trained fighter has fought at least four times in three of the last four years. Cerrone is the type of fighter who is unwilling to turn down a fight. He’s willing to fight anytime, anyplace with quick turnarounds. To cap it off, he’s one of the most exciting fighters in the lightweight division and has been able to vault himself into title contention beating a stellar crop of fighter over the last 12 months including former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and previously undefeated Myles Jury. It’s all of these factors put together that have made Cerrone highly marketable and one that a worldwide giant like Budweiser would want to spend their marketing dollars sponsoring. If there were more fighters like Cerrone, the UFC would be having significantly more financial success. #2 Good, but Not Good Enough –Daniel Cormier had the unenviable task of trying to be the one to dethrone Jon Jones. Unlike previous Jones’ title fights, this one featured significant animosity between the fighters leading up to the fight. Both fighters played mind games trying to work their way into the head of their opponent. Rarely do we see two undefeated fighters (Jones has a DQ loss on his record, but has never lost in a traditional way) with such high level ability face each other.  For the 35-year old Cormier, it was likely his only change at gold in the top MMA promotion in the world. It was his opportunity to be the man who beat the best fighter on the planet. It was his chance to change the script and tarnish the legacy of Jones. Unfortunately for Cormier, he was unable to do that. It was a tough, rugged fight for the first 15 minutes, but Jones turned it on in the championship rounds outclassing the talented wrestler. For Cormier, it was a good performance. He had a hard-fought battle with the best, but on Saturday night his best was not good enough. In the end, Cormier will have to settle for being the best of the rest. #1 Chisel Jones Onto MMA’s Mt. Rushmore – It was a different challenge than any other Jon Jones had previously conquered. A matchup not only with an undefeated fighter, but with one that held better wrestling credentials than any other fighter he had ever fought. The build-up to this fight made it the biggest fight on paper in the UFC in over two years. The press conference melee, the hot mics on ESPN, the “Bad Blood” special, and all the other trash talk before the fight, this was the biggest title fight Jon Jones had ever had. Many thought this was the fight where Jones would be exposed. A fight where a dominant wrestler would be able to take Jones down and control him for a significant length of time. After 25 of minutes of action, none of those things happened. In fact, it was the opposite. Jones was the fighter that had the better of the wrestling. Jones was the fighter that took Cormier down in this matchup. In what has become Jon Jones trademark, he has learned and welcomed the idea of beating fighters at their own game. In his fight with Glover Teixeira, many thought it was suicide to stand with Teixeira.  Instead, Jones stood with him the entire time and easily outstruck the Brazilian. In a fight with Cormier, Jones had no problem fighting in the pocket with the much shorter Cormier. Jones could have chosen to strike at range with Cormier outlanding him for a decision, but in Jones-like fashion, he wanted to prove a point. That point is that “I, Jon Jones, can beat anyone at their own game.” That’s what sets Jones apart from any other fighter in the sport today. His ability to adapt and beat fighters in various ways makes him the best fighter in the world. We are truly witnessing a once in a generation mixed martial artist who when he hangs them up will be on the Mt. Rushmore of MMA.

Written by Jay Primetown

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