Daniel Cormier is either impervious to the spotlight or incredibly unlucky.
Jon Jones has been hanging over Cormier like an immutable cloud of darkness. The former UFC light heavyweight champion is gone but not forgotten.
How could he be?
He is one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. The belt was stripped from him after he was arrested on a felony charge for a hit-and-run in Albuquerque. This happened to him a few months after he beat Cormier. After Jones was stripped and suspended, Cormier eased back into the title picture and commandeered the vacant throne.
There weren’t any streamers or downpours of confetti after his win. There were only more questions about Jon Jones. Cormier is the current UFC champion, but he has yet to convince the masses that he is anything more than a temporary substitute. Despite all of the early retirement talks, we all expect Jones to return to the Octagon one day and resume his fighting career.
He is already hitting the gym like a mad man after it was announced that he wouldn’t serve any jail time. The former champ was given 18 months probation after pleading guilty for fleeing the scene of an accident.
Coincidentally, the news surrounding Jones came the same week of Cormier’s first UFC title defense. Instead of focusing in on Cormier’s fight with Alexander Gustafsson, the talk of the MMA world has been about Jones and his impending return.
The rumor mill is already buzzing about a potential light heavyweight title fight between the winner of Cormier and Gustafsson against Jones in April 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. An event being held in New York has been talked about ever since Dana White and the Fertitta brothers took over the reins of the UFC. Throw in the return of Jones, a native New Yorker, and you have one of the biggest events ever.
But all of that is meaningless to Cormier, who is solely focused on his fight with Gustafsson on Saturday night. After stepping onto the scale at Friday’s weigh-ins, Cormier (205) vowed to “release the chains” at UFC 192:
“Best weight cut ever, but tomorrow, Joe, I release the chains. I’ll allow Alex to stop worrying about being a fighter. He’s talked about retiring time and time again. Go back to Sweden and become a model. I release the chains tomorrow. I’m done with him.”
Gustafsson, who tipped the scales at 204 pounds, is 1-2 in his last three fights. He hopes to make the most of a second opportunity to win UFC gold.
“Houston, you’ll have a new world champion tomorrow,” said Gustafsson.
The full results from Friday’s weigh-ins are listed below.
Main Card (Pay-Per-View at 10 pm ET)
Daniel Cormier (205) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (204)
Ryan Bader (206) vs. Rashad Evans (205)
Shawn Jordan (265) vs. Ruslan Magomedov (236)
Joseph Benavidez (126) vs. Ali Bagautinov (125)
Jessica Eye (136) vs. Julianna Pena (135)
Undercard (FOX Sports 1 at 8 pm ET)
Dan Hooker (146) vs. Yair Rodriguez (145)
Alan Jouban (170) vs. Albert Tumenov (170)
Adriano Martins (156) vs. Islam Makhachev (156)
Rose Namajunas (115) vs. Angela Hill (115)
Undercard (UFC Fight Pass at 6:15 pm ET)
Sage Northcutt (156) vs. Francisco Trevino (160)*
Chris Cariaso (126) vs. Sergio Pettis (126)
Derrick Lewis (265) vs. Viktor Pesta (237)
*Missed weight on first attempt
**Note: Johny Hendricks vs. Tyron Woodley was scrapped on Friday after Hendricks was rushed to the emergency room due to a kidney stone and intestinal blockage.