Tonight was supposed to be Jon Jones' 9th light heavyweight title defense. Instead, Jones' hit-and-run case led to the loss of his belt, and Daniel Cormier replaced him vs. Anthony Johnson for the newly vacant light heavyweight championship in the main event of UFC 187 in Las Vegas. For the first time since March 2011, someone other than Jon Jones was going to leave the Octagon as the reigning light heavyweight champion.
Cormier stuck the jab out early but Rumble knocked Cormier down with a huge right hand. Johnson got a bit wild looking for the finish and Cormier slammed him to the mat. Johnson got back up but Cormier stayed on him and chained different techniques together. Johnson threw two punches while on one leg, slipped, Cormier moved in and kept him in a knelt position against the fence. Rumble got back to his feet and exploded out of the clinch with a head kick. Both men traded power shots. Cormier had a takedown stuffed in the center of the cage. A failed counterstrike by Johnson led to Cormier moving in on a body lock against the fence. He rode out the round by leaning on him against the fence, getting his dirty boxing going before Rumble fired back. A clear Rumble round after a stunning opening few seconds.
Both men threw with bad intentions in round 2 as Rumble cracked Cormier with hard kicks up high. Cormier threw kicks of his own in a wild exchange before he picked Johnson up and put him down and into his guard. He advanced to half-guard and threw some elbows and tried a kimura and then returned to punches from half-guard. Back to the kimura as Rumble tried punching from the bottom. Rumble took some big, deep breaths. Cormier continued to smother him. Slicing elbow and punches as Cormier finished in side control.
Rumble surprisingly took Cormier down in the early stages but couldn't hold him there. Johnson had enough gas in the tank to stop a single leg but not enough to prevent Cormier from taking his back and placing him against the fence for punishment. Both hooks were sunk in and the rear-naked choke was there, and he locked it in to complete the victory.
In the post-fight interview, Cormier merely said "Jon Jones, get your sh*t together!" and walked out of the cage. Jones is supposed to receive an immediate title shot against the winner of this fight, obviously pending the outcome of his legal situation.