Such is the way of the UFC with a plethora of pay-per-view events throughout the year, that events like UFC 182 stand out as must watch sporting competition. The light heavyweight title fight that headlines UFC 182 is the sort of fight that gets a neutral like me, who just loves sport and has seen enough MMA to kind of know what's going on, it gets me excited and so it should.
The UFC has battled claims that it's struggling for star power, which is pretty weird as it is easily the sport that people need to watch out for as it steam-rolls the competition, but it's understandable as people look at how the UFC is pushing Irishman Connor McGregor. He's charismatic and is likely to sell out where ever he goes, people love him and hate him and he's someone the UFC is banking on to be a big draw card. The UFC is walking a fine line of relying on the pure athletic element, yet trying to expand and create a connection between the fighters and the fans who pay to watch the event. Jon Jones is the perfect mix of athletic awesomeness and someone who polarizes fans.
We haven't seen enough of Jones in the past 6 months, which may be why some people feel that the UFC doesn't quite have the same impact. They've been without their main man, a freak of nature who is pretty much the perfect Mixed Martial Arts creature as injury forced the fight between Jones and Alex Gustafsson to be cancelled and injury then meant Jones had to wait to fight Daniel Cormier. It's been a while, but it's been worth the wait and we're only on the eve of UFC 182 and it's the sort of super fight that is a perfect start to 2015.
Jones vs Cormier has everything, absolutely everything a fan needs to get engaged. Jones is a freak with a long reach which enables him to control his opponent, but he's also capable of wrestling with the best and Cormier has basically earned a living by being alright at that wrestling thing. Jones is equally destructive with his striking as he is at his wrestling or jiu jitsu, he's got elbows, he's got knees and he's able to strike you however he wants, whenever he wants. Jones is long, while Cormier is shorter and chunkier, a stature that could allow him to sneak under Jones' reach and get in close. These two lads are at the very peak of mixed martial arts and the action in the Octagon will be something for the ages.
They also don't like each other. Even before this fight was scheduled, Cormier made it known that he wanted to fight Jones and the two traded many a cheeky barb. Then came the scuffle at the press conference and all of a sudden these two became arch enemies, the sort of rivals that the UFC needs. If the athletic freak aspect, or the sporting spectacle isn't enough for you to tune in, you might be persuaded to watch because you've heard that these two hate each other. Bang, job done.
I said I'm a neutral, but I'm also in awe of Jon Jones. He's a bit weird, he's equal part humble master perfecting his craft as he is public enemy #1 for being a bit of a dick. Whatever your opinion is of Jones, his expertise can't be questioned and there's an opportunity for him to pave his way in to uncharted territory as being simply the greatest. Personally, I just love the freak aspect of Jones - he's designed for MMA and he has a passion, work ethic and imagination that have and will continue to serve him well.
Cormier though presents a challenge that Jones probably hasn't faced. Cormier plays a huge part in this being a super fight because he's bloody good and he's probably near Jones' level of freakishness thanks to his own talents. Cormier's talents are found inside the box though, while Jones will offer something new every time. Neither method is better than the other, it's just that in the past no one has been able to handle the style of Jones. Cormier has the ability to not only match Jones but put his own twist on in.
UFC 182's main event will hopefully be something for the history books and it should get 2015 off to a cracking start. The co-main event is also one to keep an eye on with Donald Cerrone, the Cowboy taking on Myles Jury with the Cowboy coming off a 5 fight win streak while Jury is eyeing up a title shot if he can defeat Cerrone. It's the perfect fight to get you fired up for the Jones vs Cormier fight and UFC 182 is the perfect event to get you fired up for a big year in the UFC.