Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
For nearly two years, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier have given UFC one of its most exciting and personal feuds. Their interactions have resulted in a Las Vegas brawl, death threats on a hot mic, internet insults, and one brutal title match. As they prepared for a (now delayed) rematch to decide the rightful holder of the Light Heavyweight Championship, the shit-talking has continued: UFC’s last media day culminated with Jones giving Cormier a “suck it” crotch chop, a move popularized by the WWE’s D-Generation X.
That’s not the only thing the feud has borrowed from the world of pro wrestling. As an infuriated Cormier asked Jones last month, “Is this not real now? Are we pretending again?” It was a question that underscores what makes their feud so telling: like a WWE wrestler, Jones is forcing the audience to question the reality of “real” fighting.
The animosity between Jones and Cormier dates back to 2010, when they met backstage at UFC 121 (an event headlined by pro wrestler turned UFC champ turned pro wrestler Brock Lesnar), where Jones got under Cormier’s skin by feigning ignorance of his wrestling pedigree. For years after that first encounter, Jones and Cormier were on different paths but they looked destined to fight.
Jones won the Light Heavyweight Championship in 2011 and soon become the face of the company, thanks not just to his in-ring dominance but his calm, polite demeanor. The son and grandson of preachers who made his living by beating men to a pulp was described as “thoughtful, measured and risk averse” outside of the ring. “By any measure, Jones is a walking and occasionally flying contradiction,” wrote the New York Times, “a friendly, well-adjusted 25-year-old who looks at his feet during prefight staredowns.”
Jones was the opposite of ….View full article