“Of all the big fights coming up this weekend, this one deserves to be the main event’s main event.

Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier have been the centerpieces of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight division for the past two years. They were originally slated to fight at UFC 178 in September 2014, but an injury to incumbent champion Jones postponed it to UFC 182 four months later. By then, Jones had already strung together a record-setting seven light heavyweight title defenses, while Cormier was 2-0 at 205 pounds. “Bones” took a clear though at times competitive decision win over Cormier before the UFC stripped him of his title for outside-of-the-cage shenanigans. After a lengthy time away, Jones made his comeback in April, when he coasted through Ovince St. Preux for the interim light heavyweight title. This will be the first time since 2013 that Jones fights more than once in a year.

On the other side of the cage at UFC 200 on Saturday in Las Vegas will be the former Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix champion and current UFC light heavyweight champion, though the latter accolade was only available once Jones was out of the picture. Since losing to Jones, Cormier has won two straight, choking out Anthony Johnson for the title and defending it in a razor-close decision against Alexander Gustafsson. Cormier has solidified his spot as the best 205-pounder in Jones’ absence, but that absence has always loomed over his championship claims, making this a high-stakes fight for his legacy in the promotion and the sport. Since joining the UFC, Cormier has fought at least twice every year, but this will be his first fight of 2016.

There is a lot to unpack in this fight, both from narrative and statistical perspectives. Let us see how the Tale of the Tape can shed some light on the matchup…”

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analysis, Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, MMA, statistics, UFC, UFC 200

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