Jones vs. Cormier a story we've seen before

“Years from now, this could be looked at as a seminal bout in the sport’s existence in terms of competition and mass appeal. Two superstars in their primes with a championship on the line. What else could you ask for?” – Sports Illustrated

* * *

“In the fight game, you get used to hype: The biggest this. The biggest that. After a while, it rolls off your back.

“But Saturday night is different. You can make a good case that the [fight] is, from an all-around standpoint, one of the true epic matches in the history of the sport.” – Yahoo! Sports

* * *

On January 31, 2009, Georges St-Pierre and B.J. Penn met at UFC 94 in the MGM Grand with the UFC’s welterweight title on the line.

St-Pierre and Penn met once before, at UFC 58, with the Canadian taking a split decision. He won the welterweight title for the first time later that year with a finish of Matt Hughes. He would lose the title to Matt Serra before winning it back and beginning the most dominant reign in welterweight history.

Penn, after a three-year stint fighting above his weight (including the first fight with St-Pierre), had returned to lightweight, defeating Jens Pulver, Joe Stevenson, and Sean Sherk and capturing the promotion’s lightweight title along the way. Now he wanted to avenge the loss to St-Pierre.

The feud became personal. Penn insinuated that St-Pierre used steroids. He called St-Pierre a quitter. St-Pierre said he would fight with heart, not anger. The UFC put together a three-part, HBO 24/7-“inspired” documentary to hype the bout.

The promotion had whipped fans and media into a frenzy. St-Pierre walked into the Octagon as a -165 favorite. A half hour later, he had broken Penn’s will. The Hawaiian’s corner stopped the bout while their fighter sat with glazed eyes on his stool.

* * *

Five years, eleven months, and three days after the rematch between St-Pierre and Penn, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will meet at UFC 182 in the MGM Grand with the UFC’s light heavyweight title on the line.

It’s not a rematch –not a proper one anyway – but similarities abound. The champion fights out of Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The challenger started his fight career at the American Kickboxing Academy. (The current challenger still trains there.) The champion dominated his weight class for years. The challenger changed weight classes with this fight in mind. The champion is a physical specimen. The challenger has had issues with weight in the past. The champion has the physical advantages. It’s personal. The UFC produced a slick promo special for the event (substituting Anthony Bourdain for Henry Rollins). The hype is high, and fans and media are in a frenzy.

Read the full article by Mike Fagan here....