UFC 210 has gotten its main event and it is a good one.
The UFC announced on Wednesday night that UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (18-1) will defend his 205-pound title for the second time when he takes on No. 1 contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-5) on April 8 in Buffalo, NY.
This is a rematch of their May 2015 bout, which was for the vacant title. On that date, Johnson was initially scheduled to take on Jon Jones (22-1), but Cormier replaced Jones after “Bones” ran into some legal troubles and was stripped of the title. Cormier went on to win the bout by third-round submission, capturing his first UFC championship. But it was not without some adversity. Johnson rocked Cormier badly in the first round and nearly finished the fight.
Since then, Cormier defended his title in a split decision win over Alexander Gustafsson (17-4) and won a non-title bout at UFC 200 over Anderson Silva (33-8), another bout in which Jones was the initial opponent but withdrew. A rematch with Johnson was initially scheduled to headline UFC 206 in Toronto, but the fight was postponed when Cormier suffered a groin injury and required surgery.
But Johnson has regained the traction in his career since the loss to Cormier and has emerged as the clear top contender in the division with a run of three great knockouts of top five contenders. “Rumble” may be the hardest puncher in UFC history and has earned three consecutive performance of the night bonuses for his powerful display. He knocked out Jimi Manuwa (18-2) in the second round and has registered first round finishes over Ryan Bader (22-5) and Glover Teixeira (25-5). The Teixeira knockout was only 13 seconds into the fight, as all of the monster’s power was shown with a brutal uppercut KO.
This match-up is one that is very intriguing stylistically and is one of the best fights that can be made in the UFC today. Cormier, a world-class wrestler, has a very good ground game and used that to control Johnson for a majority of their first fight. But if Johnson can keep this fight on the feet, he can end it at any moment. This will be another pins-and-needles fight that could go either way.
Also on the card, former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman (13-2) will look to bounce back from two consecutive losses when he takes on No. 5-ranked Gegard Mousasi (41-6-2). This fight will allow one man to emerge as a title challenger, while the other will be forced to go back to the drawing board.