FanPost

Comparing the Rise of Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier

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via cdn3.sbnation.com


As most of you know, I have been tooting the horn of the Daniel Cormier bandwagon. There is a reason I feel strongly about Daniel's potential, and this post will attempt to convey my reasoning. Let's take a closer look at Jon's first ten fights and put them side by side with Daniel's.

Both Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier are still relatively newcomers to the world of mixed martial arts. Jones began his professional career on April 12, 2008 and made his UFC debut on August 9, 2008. What is absolutely insane about this rise to the big leagues is that Jones was 6-0 in a span of only four months (including a 3-0 record in the first two weeks). Cormier began his professional career on September 25, 2009, debuting on Strikeforce-Challengers 3.

Lets take a closer looks at the first 6 fights for each man. The significance of this is to look at Jon's opponent before making the jump to the UFC and it is more or less the cutoff before Cormier's first recognizable opponent. The records referred to in this post are the current records of their previous opponents, not their record at the time of fighting either Jon or Daniel. Jon racked up a 6-0 record against opponents with a combined record of 23-16. His best opponent in that run appears to be Carlos Eduardo (9-2). The other defeat on Eduardo's ledger was a DQ loss for an illegal kick within the first minute of a bout prior to facing Jones. He survived two rounds with Bones before getting finished in the first 30 seconds of the third. Since being dispatched by Jones, Carlos has amassed a 7-0 record finishing 6 before the final bell. Of Jones' first 6 opponents, half have a losing record and two of those are winless. Below is a complete look at Jon Jones' first six professional fights.

win Moyses Gabin BCX 5 - Battle Cage Xtreme 5
Jul / 12 / 2008
TKO (Punches)
Kevin Mulhall
2 1:58
win Parker Porter WCF - World Championship Fighting 3
Jun / 20 / 2008
KO (Punch)
N/A
1 0:36
win Ryan Verrett USFL - War in the Woods 3
May / 9 / 2008
TKO (Punches)
N/A
1 2:58
win Anthony Pina ICE Fighter - ICE Fighter
Apr / 25 / 2008
Submission (Guillotine Choke)
N/A
1 1:15
win Carlos Eduardo BCX 4 - Battle Cage Xtreme 4
Apr / 19 / 2008
KO (Punches)
Kevin Mulhall
3 0:24
win Brad Bernard FFP - Untamed 20
Apr / 12 / 2008
TKO (Punches)
N/A
1 1:32

A look at Cormier's first six fights after the jump.

Due to a combination of age and lack of depth at HW, Cormier wasted little time and laid waste to his more experienced counterparts. Apart from Cary Frazier (mandatory sacrificial lamb to a debuting fighter), Cormier faced five fighters with winning records. The combined record of which is 44-18. The most notable of his victims include Tony Johnson Jr. (6-1) and Soa Palelel (17-3). Tony Johnson Jr. was a D-1 wrestler at Iowa State and is a big HW usually coming in at the 265 lb limit. Cormier absolutely dismantled him in every facet of the game. Soa Palelel holds a 17-3 record with the most recent win coming against the always game Bob Sapp in just :12 seconds. In all seriousness, Soa is a huge human being and Daniel totally outclassed him despite the huge experience and size difference. Below you can see the entirety of Cormier's first six bouts.

win Soa Palelei XMMA - Xtreme MMA 3
Nov / 5 / 2010
Submission (Punches)
N/A
1

win Jason Riley Strikeforce - Houston
Aug / 21 / 2010
Submission (Punches)
Kerry Hatley
1 1:02
win Tony Johnson Jr. KOTC - Imminent Danger
Aug / 13 / 2010
Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
Cecil Peoples
1 2:27
win Lucas Browne XMMA 2 - ANZ vs. USA
Jul / 31 / 2010
TKO (Punches)
Kostas Papaioannou
1 4:35
win John Devine Strikeforce - Challengers 7
Mar / 26 / 2010
KO (Punch)
N/A
1 1:09
win Gary Frazier Strikeforce - Challengers 3
Sep / 25 / 2009
TKO (Punches)
N/A
2 3:39

So up to this point in their respective careers, Daniel and Jon had each produced a 6-0

record and all victories included stoppages. Jon's first six fights encompassed a grand total of 4 months while Cormier's first six fights took place over roughly 13 months. Both are ridiculous paces.

Before we take a glimpse into the next four fights of each fighter lets set the back drop for each man's career at the time of being 6-0. Jon was a late replacement for Tomasz Drwal on just two weeks notice. Jon was a complete unknown and many at the time knew more of his opponent, the undefeated Brazilian prospect, Andre Gusmao. I don't believe that Zuffa knew they had a legitimate prospect on their hands until Jones beat the always formidable Stephan Bonnar in only his eighth fight as a professional. The story is a bit different for Cormier. Zuffa knew exactly what they were doing with Daniel. They had built him slowly and then unleashed him to terrorize the more well-known HWs of Strikeforce. Now let us take a more in depth look at the next four fights of each man/prospect.

As mentioned above, Bones came in on two weeks notice and handled Gusmao (6-3) with relative ease. Even the staff here at BE didn't know much about Jon and several picked against him. And who could blame them? The kid had been fighting professionally for 4 months! After Gusmao, Bonnar (14-7) was thrown at Jon and due to his unbelievable hard head and absolutely insanity, Bonnar survived a good beating and even did well against Jones in the third but again it was a clear victory. Next came Jake O'brien (13-4), in the shadow of Lesnar vs Mir II at UFC 100. (I honestly didn't know this until researching for this post). Just to remind everyone about that night...we were given Sexyama for the first time; GSP vs Alves; the closest thing to murder in the ring with Hendo vs Bisping (good God); Tom Lawlor choking out Mr. He deserves his face. What an awesome night! So yeah, somewhere under all that awesomsauce, Jones choked a bitch. Jon was officially on the map and was granted a headlining spot for the most watched season of TUF. Though he didn't get the "win", Jones made a statement all over Matt Hamill (10-4). Well that's a wrap for Jon's first 10 fights. Some final notes. Jon's opponents for this four fight stretch have a combined record of 43-18. His most notable victory was Bonnar up to that point. Jon's first 10 fights encompassed about 20 months. Below are these showings.

loss Matt Hamill UFC - The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale
Dec / 5 / 2009
DQ (Illegal Downward Elbows)
Steve Mazzagatti
1

4:14
win Jake O'Brien UFC 100 - Lesnar vs. Mir 2
Jul / 11 / 2009
Submission (Guillotine Choke)
Yves Lavigne
2 2:43
win Stephan Bonnar UFC 94 - St. Pierre vs. Penn 2
Jan / 31 / 2009
Decision (Unanimous)
Steve Mazzagatti
3 5:00
win Andre Gusmao UFC 87 - Seek and Destroy
Aug / 9 / 2008
Decision (Unanimous)
Daryl Guthmiller
3 5:00

Daniel Cormier began his next four fight stretch with a showdown with Devin Cole (20-9). Cormier dominated Cole on route to a unanimous decision. Next up for Daniel was dangerous, grappling focused Jeff Monson (45-13). Another good showing by Cormier where he used his wrestling in reverse and outclassed the Snowman on the feet. Cormier was chugging along nicely at this point and then the call came to take Allistair Overeem's spot in the Heavyweight Grand Prix. Daniel had took a huge step up in competition and tangled with Antonio Silva (16-4). He crushed the giant in a fight that was never close. Next, Cormier took a plunge into even deeper waters and tested his skills against a seasoned and crafty veteran in Josh Barnett (31-6). Though Cormier couldn't put Barnett away, he thoroughly impressed with both his skills and cardio over the course of five rounds witho

ut dropping a single frame. These four men combine for a 112-22 record. These ten fights happened over a course of about 34 months. Below are Daniel's four most recent fights.

win Josh Barnett Strikeforce - Barnett vs. Cormier
May / 19 / 2012
Decision (Unanimous)
Josh Rosenthal
5 5:00
win Antonio Silva Strikeforce - Barnett vs. Kharitonov
Sep / 10 / 2011
KO (Punches)
Greg Franklin
1 3:56
win Jeff Monson Strikeforce - Overeem vs. Werdum
Jun / 18 / 2011
Decision (Unanimous)
Leon Roberts
3 5:00
win Devin Cole Strikeforce - Challengers 13
Jan / 7 / 2011
Decision (Unanimous)
Greg Franklin
3 5:00

Given Daniel's wrestling pedigree and age, it is no surprise to see that he was brought along against tougher competition sooner in his career. Both Cormier and Jones display great MMA wrestling and fight IQ required to take a fighter to the top. Jon accompanies these all important attributes with a excellent Muai Thai assault. He stays safe by keeping opponents at bay with his reach, mainly utilizing kicks. Cormier is more of a boxer who relies on his speed advantage over most of the HW division to slip in and out while maintaining the ever present threat of a takedown that must be accounted for with any Olympic caliber wrestler. Neither man has taken much damage in the form of brain rattling. One can hope that Cormier's hands can hold up and not hinder his game. Another concern is the grind on Daniel's body given the length of his wrestling career.

We don't know either of these fighters ceilings yet and that is very exciting. I expect both of these fighters to go down as some of the all time greatest and I will enjoy watching their careers unfold. Seeing the comparisons in both fighters first 10 fights is what has fueled my confidence in Daniel. Jon won UFC gold in his 14th professional fight and Cormier is most likely going to get the same opportunity in his 12th fight. I personally will be betting on Cormier to succeed.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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