Jon Jones plans on taking Daniel Cormier down at UFC 178. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Jon Jones has accomplished the feat numerous times already: Take down a more celebrated wrestler in the Octagon and dominate.
For example, “Bones” has had his way with the likes of Ryan Bader, a two-time NCAA All-American at Arizona State University, and Chael Sonnen, an All-American at Oregon and a silver medalist at the 2000 Greco-Roman World University Championships, to name a couple. After taking down Sonnen and finishing him in the opening frame at UFC 159, Jones proudly proclaimed that he was able to ‘Chael Sonnen’ Chael Sonnen -- in other words, beat him at his own game.
Jones’ wrestling has been a signature throughout his run to the 205-pound title and during his subsequent reign. That won’t make it any less satisfying if he is able to do the same to Daniel Cormier, a two-time Olympian, at UFC 178. In fact, the former junior college national champion has made it his mission to test Cormier’s 100 percent takedown defense rate come Sept. 27.
“I’m looking to go out there and take down an Olympian,” Jones said during a Tuesday UFC Q&A session in Los Angeles. “Me, I had to finish school early, I had a kid on the way and I dropped out of college. I never got to wrestle Division I the way I wanted to, and I feel that my dream in that sport was cut short.
“To go out there and take down an Olympian; to smother an Olympian; to do what I do on an Olympian: It’s gonna be huge for me personally.”
Tuesday’s event was tame compared to a day earlier in Las Vegas, when Jones and Cormier engaged in a brief scuffle during media day at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Following the altercation, the champ posted a video on his Instagram account boasting about putting Cormier on his back “in like six seconds.”
As much as armchair corner men might like to read into that exchange, Cormier expects to present a considerably more difficult target on fight night.
“Yeah I do [believe he will try to take me down]. I’ve seen him do it every time,” Cormier said. “He’s done it against every guy . As he said, it’s a personal goal of his to show that if the opportunity would have presented itself, he would have been successful at that level. I don’t think for a second that he wouldn’t have been. He would have been one of the very best guys in NCAA wrestling if he would have gotten to compete at the highest level. That’s why he got recruited by the schools that he did.
“With that said, you know what: I’m so happy he’s going to try and get a takedown. I can defend takedowns, and he’s gonna get his ass taken down and he won’t get up. He’s gonna be stuck there.”
While Jones claimed -- or feigned -- ignorance regarding most of his opponent’s credentials during the session, Cormier said he was aware of the Jackson-Wink MMA standout’s prowess on the mats long before he hit it big.
“I was coaching when he was in high school; I was very aware of who he was,” Cormier said. “Do I believe he can wrestle with me? Yeah, I think he can. I believe he’s going to attempt to. Do I believe I’m the best wrestler in the division? I mean, hands down [I am]. Regardless of what he tries to do in the Octagon, it’s going to take much more than wrestling.”