When the opening bell rang before the main event at UFC 214 Saturday night, Jon Jones was already at a disadvantage.
The light heavyweight legend who many believe to be the greatest UFC fighter ever, who had been absent from the cage since April 2016, had taken his most dangerous submission hold out of his arsenal.
He wouldn't be using any submissions, including the guillotine choke he famously used to memorably take out Lyoto Machida,
This revelation comes courtesy of former UFC champ Frank Mir, who said he spoke to Jones before the fight and was surprised to learn that "Bones" would not even attempt to submit Cormier. It wasn't because he thought he couldn't win that way, but becuase Jones wanted to do more than just notch his second victory over arch-rival Cormier and regain his light-heavyweight title.
"I have to break him.” Mir recalls Jones saying. "We’re gonna have to fight each other again. I need to break him. And if I catch him — if I knock him out with a knee or if I submit him — he can go home and have something to focus on [where] that’s what happened; that’s what allowed me to win; I just caught him. But if I crush him, if I beat him at what he does best … I’ll forever own him. He’ll never be able to beat me."
Jones was clearly confident going into this fight, and one brilliant MMA fan at Pundit Arena has found something that could explain why. Back in 2014, when Jones and Cormier were doing a promotional event for what was supposed to be their first fight (it was eventually cancelled after Jones got hurt), the two fighters discussed a "weakness" in Cormier's repertoire.
“I do have tendencies," Cormier said, before telling Jones, "Don’t think you’re going to kick me in the head with your left leg."
"Yes, we noticed that,” Jones said. “Well, you better fix that.”
“I am smart enough to understand when there is a weakness and I go and fix it,” responded Cormier.
But as the end of the fight on Saturday showed, even after three years, he didn't fix it. But hey at least these two bitter foes are finally saying nice things about each other.