Is Johnson vs. Cormier Nothing More Than an Interim Title?
UFC Fight Night Manila main eventer Urijah Faber believes that the UFC stripping the belt away from troubled superstar Jon Jones does not take away the greatness of Bones’ dominant run in the light heavyweight division.
“Jones is definitely one of the best pound-for-pound champions,” the former WEC featherweight champion told the international media present during last week’s scrum. “Him and Cormier had a good fight, but he definitely won. Jones is one of the best. He just needs to let the rest [of Jon Jones] catch up to the championship mentality.”
He is speaking, of course, about Jones’ purported substance-related problems. Jones checked himself into a drug treatment facility following his dominant decision victory over Cormier last January. He was apparently feeling better one day after. Police also found marijuana paraphernalia inside his car after Jones fled the scene of a hit-and-run accident last April.
Still, Faber is optimistic that Jones can overcome these challenges outside the Octagon. “Jon Jones will be back. He just needs to make a decision to move in the right direction – in all aspects of his life. To be world champion, he’s a mentally strong guy.”
When I told him that Jones’ manager Malki Kawa hinted on the champ’s retirement from the sport a couple of weeks back, Faber fired, “Malki Kawa doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Malki Kawa’s a nut! If Jones wants to come back, he’ll be back. He just has to make the right life decisions. Maybe dropping Malki Kawa is one of them.”
It does seem that Kawa is spewing more fiction than fact. Jones’ teammate and welterweight contender Carlos Condit told Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour that the pound-for-pound great continues to train at Jackson and Winklejohn’s. Moreover, Jones explicitly told Condit that he’s “going to be back.” Dana White also told Jim Rome last Wednesday that Bones will get an immediate title shot if and when he returns.
So, where does that leave us in tomorrow’s main event between super-powered Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and wrestling elite Daniel Cormier? In Faber’s mind, “If Cormier wins, then I would say Jones is probably the real champ. If Anthony Johnson wins, then we wouldn’t know who the real champ is because they haven’t fought each other yet.”
Agree or not, what’s best is for Jones to clean up his act, wipe the powder from his nose, and return to the Octagon to settle all doubts as to who is the real king of the light heavyweight hill. That, or “Don’t get caught! I know of kids in junior high who have gotten away with more stuff than that guy has!” The California Kid is kidding, of course.
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