Heading into his UFC 210 main event bout against Anthony Johnson, Daniel Cormier felt he could walk through Johnson's shots and beat him like he did at UFC 187.
Cormier lived up to his words, defeating Johnson by second-round submission via rear-naked choke to retain the UFC light heavyweight championship. But the drama in the room was centered around former champion Jon Jones who is serving a one-year suspension for failing a drug test three days before his rematch with Cormier at UFC 200 back in July. Cormier knew Jones was in the building and had some pointed comments towards his rival.
"When you get your s—together and you’re ready to fight, then come to me," Cormier screamed at Jones. "I’ve been waiting two years.When you get your academics together, then you can come back to the classroom."
The fight began with Cormier and Johnson each tradingpowerful right hands. Johnson then did something many weren't expecting, trying to take the two-time Olympic wrestler down for the entire round. While "Rumble" did take Cormier down for a split second, Cormierjust hung out and had Johnson in a front guillotine for a good part of the round. With about 90 seconds left in the round, Johnson connected on a left high kick which wobbled Cormier and appeared to break the champion's nose.
It was much of the same in the second round. Johnson switched to a southpaw stance to setup another left high kick, but instead went for another takedown. This time it didn't work and Cormier took Johnson down. After that, it was just a matter of time before Cormier did the same thing he did to Johnson almost two years ago.
Cormier rained down punches onto a defenseless Johnson. Cormier, the leader of the American Kickboxing Academy,saw an opening, flattened Johnson and locked in the rear-naked choke. Johnson tapped out instantly.
During his post-fight interview, Johnson told Joe Rogan he was retiring from the sport.
“This was my last fight," Johnson said. "I gave my commitment to another job. Something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Not MMA related."
Johnson ends his career with a record of 22-6 with 16 of those wins by knockout.
Cormier runs his record to 19-1 and is expected to face Jones later in 2017 when the latter comes off his suspension in the beginning of July.
Here is how UFC 210 panned out:
12:26:Round 1 to Cormier (10-9). Neither Cormier and Johnson did much. Cormier was able to use a front guillotine to neutralize Johnson. An odd gameplan for Johnson to start. Needs to start throwing.
12:14:Up next is the main event of UFC 210 for the UFC light heavyweight title as Daniel Cormer defends against Anthony Johnson. Hopefully, we see a clean fight and don't have to have a referee or commission decide the fight. Should be a great main event.
12:05:Gegard Mousasi defeats Chris Weidman by TKO at 3:13 of the secondround. The ending wasn't without controversy. Mousasi landed a knee while Weidman had one hand on the ground. Weidman had two hands on the ground and Mousasi lifted Weidman's arms up and kneed him.
Referee Dan Miragliotta put a halt to the action thinking Weidman had two hands on the mat which would have made the knees illegal under the new unified rules that were adopted at the beginning of 2017. It appeared the fight would continue but the NYSAC put a halt to the fight. Mousasi had no problem giving Weidman a rematch. Weidman was livid and apologized to the crowd. The onus goes on Miragliotta. He has to be farther back in the cage and if he was then he would have seen that one of Weidman's hands were up. Poor job by Miragliotta. Would like an explanation by the commission on why they stopped the fight.
11:40:Coming up next at UFC 210 is the co-main event, in middleweight action, Chris Weidman battles Gegard Mousasi. This is a crossroads fight for the top contenders. Weidman has lost back-to-back fights including losing the middleweight title to Luke Rockhold. Mousasi is on a tear winning four consecutive fights, and enters the final fight of his current UFC contract.
11:34:Cynthia Calvillo defeats Pearl Gonzalez by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:45 of the third round. Very impressive performance by Calvillio. Her ground game is the best in the women's strawweight division. Her hips are very strong and was able to use that to control Gonzalez on the ground. That is two wins in one month for the Brazilian who will now take a much deserved break. But when she returns, she should get a top-ten opponent.
11:08:Up next at UFC 210, in women's strawweight action, Pearl Gonzalez battles Cynthia Calvillo. The talk surrounding this fight has been the fact it almost didn't happen. Gonzalez was told after she had already weighed in that she was being pulled from the fight due to having breast implants, even though she disclosed it on her medical forms. But, the New York State Athletic Commission got it right and the fight is back on.
11:00:Thiago Alves defeats Patrick Cote by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). That was the best Alves we have seen in a long time. His striking was on point especially with the leg kicks which kept Cote at bay. A much needed win to get him back on track. After the fight, Cote left his gloves in the cage and told Joe Rogan he was announcing his retirement.
10:35:Coming up next at UFC 210, in welterweight action, Thiago Alves fights Patrick Cote. Alves returns to 170 pounds aftera disastrous lightweight stint when he lost to Jim Miller at UFC 205 back in November. The former UFC welterweight title challenger is in need of a win, losing back-to-back fights. Cote, a former middleweight title challenger is 5-2 since he moved to 170 pounds. Should be a good scrap.
10:28:Urijah Faber is the first inductee into the 2017 UFC Hall of Fame class in the modern wing. Well deserved honor for the man who put the lower weight classes on the map. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be on July 6 in Las Vegas during International Fight Week.
10:23:Charles Oliveira defeats Will Brooks by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:30 of the first round. Oliveira looked like a new fighter out there. He took down a wrestler and used his superior Jiu-Jitsu for an unbelievable standing rear-naked choke. 155 pounds is where "Da Bronx" needs to be. He doesn't have to struggle to make weight and the result speaks for itsefl. Brooks drops to 1-2 in the UFC. Pretty disappointing start for the former Bellator lightweight champion.
10:08:Kicking off the main card at UFC 210, in lightweight action, Charles Oliveira goes up against Will Brooks. Oliveira is moving up from 145 pounds due to consistently missing weight. Brooks is 1-1 since coming to the UFC last year and lost in controversial fashion to Alex Oliveira in October.
9:50:Myles Jury defeated Mike De La Torre by TKO at 3;30 of the first round. He took De La Torre down early and made it an easy night of work.Good bounce back win for Jury with the 16-month layoff to garner his first win at 145 pounds.
9:39:Up next, in the featured prelim fight at UFC 210, in featherweight action, Mike De La Torre faces Myles Jury. it is Jury's first fight since a Dec. 2015 loss to Charles Oliveira.
9:33:Kamaru Usman defeated Sean Strickland by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26). A dominant peformance by Usman. Controlled the fight from start to finish. Don't think Usman even had a mark on him. Usman is the first fighter since Marcus Davis in 2007 to win their first five fights in the welterweight division. It is time for Usman to face a top ten foe. During his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Usman called out Neil Magny. We won't know how good Usman is until he faces a top opponent and Magny fits the bill.
9:00:Up next at UFC 210, in welterweight action, Sean Strickland battlesKamaru Usman. This is a battle of top prospects in the 170-pound division. Strickland has won five of his six UFC bouts while Usman is undefeated in four UFC bouts.
8:55:Shane Burgos defeats Charles Rosa by TKO at 1:59 of the third round. A right uppercut and a left hook sent Rosa packing to the mat. The end was near for Rosa and Burgos knew it as he poured it on with left and right hands and referee Todd Anderson had decided he had seen enough. Anderson made the right call. Rosa was getting lit up and it was only going to get worse. Safety first.
8:35:Up next at UFC 210, in featherweight action, Shane Burgos fights Charles Rosa. Burgos is undefeated in eight fights while this is Rosa's first fight since Jan. 2016.
8:26:Patrick Cummins def. Jan Blachowicz by majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28). Very entertaining fight. It went exactly how we said it would. Blachowicz nearly had Cummins finished in the first round but couldn't seal the deal. Cummins was able to gain his wits and control the second and third rounds with his wrestling. Pleasantly surprised by how easily Blachowicz gassed out at the end of the second round. For him to get into the top ten, he needs to work on his cardio. His striking is there and the ground game is evolving. Big win for Cummins. He should break into the top ten with this win. Will be interesting to see what the UFC does with him. Maybe a fight against No. 8 ranked Corey Anderson.
8:03: To kickoff the FS1 prelims at UFC 210, in light heavyweight action, Patrick Cummins faces Jan Blachowicz. Cummins and Blachowicz are tied for 12th in the rankings which is unheard of. Cummins needs to use his wrestling and Blachowicz needs to keep the fight on the feet. And great mustache for Cummins. Very jealous.
7:48:Gregor Gillespie def. Andrew Holbrook by knockout in 0:21 of the first round. It was as simple as a right hand to the body followed by a left hook which sent Holbrook packing. A couple hammerfists later and it was all she wrote. Gillespie is now 9-0 and 2-0 in the UFC. It was "The Gift's" seventh career win by first-round stoppage.
7:45:Up next at UFC 210, in the headlining bout on UFC Fight Pass, in lightweight action, Andrew Holbrook goes up against Gregor Gillespie. Don't know what the judges were looking at in giving Emmett a round, much less the fight. Green's striking was on point and controlled the fight throughout. Hopefull this isn't a sign of things to come at UFC 210.
7:40:Desmond Green def. Josh Emmett via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27). Green wins his UFC debutand Emmett suffers his first loss of his career.
7:20:Up next at UFC 210, in lightweight action, Desmond Green battles Josh Emmett. Green is making his UFC debut and comes in winning four consecutive fights. Emmett is undefeated in 11 fights including his first two fights in the UFC.
7:14:Katlyn Chookagian defeats Irene Aldana via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). A very entertaining fight but the decision was correct.
6:56:Up next at UFC 210, in women's strawweight action,Katlyn Chookagian facesIrene Aldana.
6:50:Bibulatov defeats Lausa by unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-26). The fight was all Bibulatov. His striking was superb while Lausa had no answer. Many have said Bibulatov could be a future contender for flyweight champion and best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Demetrious Johnson. The champion badly needs challengers and maybe within the next 12-18 months Bibulatov could be that guy.
6:33:To kickoff UFC 210 on UFC Fight Pass, in flyweight action,Magomed Bibulatov fightsJenel Lausa. Bibulatov is undefeated in 12 fights and Lousa has won five consecutive fights.
6:25: UFC 210commences from the Keybank Centerin Buffalo. In the much-anticipated main event, Daniel Cormierwill defend his light heavyweight title as herematchesAnthony Johnson. Cormier won the vacant title when he submitted Johnson at UFC 187. Inthe co-main event, former middleweight champion Chris Weidman goes up against former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi.
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. You can find his podcast, "The Fight Club Chicago," and subscribe on iTunes. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.