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The shadow of Jon Jones looms large over tonight's UFC 210 main event

Daniel Cormier defends the UFC light-heavyweight title in a rematch with Anthony Johnson in Buffalo.

UFC-210-Cormier-vs-Johnson-2-Poster Source: UFC

HE’S BEEN THE top dog in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division for nearly two years now, yet Daniel Cormier still can’t seem to shake off the man he succeeded as champion.

Tonight, Cormier defends his belt in a rematch against Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson in the main event at UFC 210 at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo — an hour down the road from Rochester, the hometown of Jon Jones, the only man to get the better of Cormier in his 19 professional bouts.

Since he became the champion in the 205lbs division, Cormier has overcome Johnson, Alexander Gustafsson and Anderson Silva (in a non-title bout). But as long as Jones remains in the picture, questions will be raised over Cormier’s claims to be the best light-heavyweight in the world.

Jon Jones will be in attendance tonight as Cormier puts his title on the line again. Should he emerge victorious, a summer rematch with Jones looks likely — as long as the former champion can avoid any further mishaps in the meantime. Jones wants his title back just as much as Cormier craves revenge for his unanimous-decision defeat in January 2015.

Few will argue with the assertion that Jones has the potential to be the greatest fighter ever to compete in mixed martial arts, but a series of misdemeanours — drink-driving, a hit-and-run incident, failed drug tests — have derailed the 29-year-old’s career.

Jones became the youngest UFC champion ever in 2011 but he’ll have to wait until his one-year suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency expires in July before he’s eligible to fight. When the time comes, the UFC are unlikely to pass up the opportunity to catapult him straight into a title bout.

If that happens, most bookmakers appear to be tipping Johnson to be the man in possession of the belt. Despite his submission loss to Cormier when they fought for the title Jones was forced to vacate in May 2015, ‘Rumble’ is a slight favourite for tonight’s headliner on the back of his stoppages of Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira.

Johnson brings knockout power, while Cormier will be relying on his elite wrestling. The former Olympian’s style hasn’t always endeared him to fans but it has nevertheless been effective in bringing him to the top of his division — for the time being at least.

Source: UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship/YouTube

Tonight’s card isn’t the most star-studded line-up ever assembled by the UFC for a pay-per-view event, but there’s still plenty to look forward to outside of the main event — particularly the bout between Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi.

Once unbeatable in the middleweight division, Weidman will be aiming to avoid a third consecutive defeat when he faces Mousasi, who’ll be looking to strengthen his own case for a title shot by picking up his fifth win in a row.

Elsewhere, the lightweight bout between former Bellator champion Will Brooks and Charles Oliveira is a likely ‘Fight of the Night’ contender, while the light-heavyweight clash of Patrick Cummins and Jan Błachowicz is another intriguing match-up.

Who will be victorious in tonight’s UFC 210 main event?

Poll Results:

Anthony Johnson (353)
Daniel Cormier (351)

UFC 210

Main card (BT Sport 2 — 3am)

Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson
Chris Weidman vs. Gegard Mousasi
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Pearl Gonzalez
Thiago Alves vs. Patrick Côté
Will Brooks vs. Charles Oliveira

TV prelims (BT Sport 2 and — 1am)

Myles Jury vs. Mike De La Torre
Kamaru Usman vs. Sean Strickland
Charles Rosa vs. Shane Burgos
Patrick Cummins vs. Jan Błachowicz

Fight Pass prelims ( — 11.15pm)

Gregor Gillespie vs. Andrew Holbrook
Josh Emmett vs. Desmond Green
Katlyn Chookagian vs. Irene Aldana
Jenel Lausa vs. Magomed Bibulatov

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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