As the UFC 205 hangover begins to pass, the sobering gaze of the mixed martial arts community shifts to Toronto; to UFC 206.
Main evented by a light-heavyweight title rematch between Daniel #Cormier and Anthony #Johnson, co-headlined by a featherweight contender eliminator pitting Anthony Pettis against Max Holloway; UFC 206 is slowly shaping up to be the perfect placeholder between the blockbuster PPV events preceding and succeeding it.
But make no mistake about it; the show has encountered heavy resistance thus far.
Canadian superstar Georges St. Pierre let the world know he wanted to step back into the octagon on December 10th in front of his home nation. Subsequently, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley openly challenged GSP to a title match at the Air Canada Centre, so did the reigning middleweight belt holder Michael Bisping, not to mention Conor McGregor, Anderson Silva and both of the Diaz brothers entering the conversation from time to time.
A Georges St. Pierre return at UFC 206 never materialised, and as such, the card took a body-shot it may struggle to recover from.
Daniel Cormier may be the most underappreciated martial artist of the modern era. ‘DC’ represented the USA and placed 4th in the 2004 Olympic Games freestyle wrestling bracket, he’s undefeated in heavyweight MMA competition with wins over legends of the sport like Josh Barnett and Frank Mir. Cormier dropped down to the 205lbs division to avoid an inevitable fight with his American Kickboxing Academy teammate Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight gold. DC’s only loss at light-heavyweight (and of his MMA career) is to debatably the greatest fighter of all time; who just so happens to be his chief adversary, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.
But despite Daniel Cormier’s exemplary performances inside and outside of the octagon, he may still have more to prove than any other competitor signed to the UFC roster.
Cormier became the light-heavyweight champion of the world after Jon Jones was stripped of the title in April 2015. At UFC 187, Daniel Cormier and Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson faced off for the vacant championship, and despite DC withstanding Johnson’s devastating early offence, going on to submit Rumble in the third round via rear-naked-choke, DC was unable to smother the general consensus of who the real light-heavyweight champion was. The shadow of Jon Jones loomed over Cormier’s title reign from the offset.
The events of early 2015 continue to reverberate through the UFC light-heavyweight division. Daniel Cormier is still the champion, Jon Jones is still suspended (granted, under fresh circumstances) and Anthony Johnson is once again the number one contender. Jones is next available to compete in July 2017 (subject to change dependant on any further USADA rulings) and until he steps into the octagon with the light-heavyweight title on the line again, the man who carries around the belt will fight the stigma Jones’ absence has unmistakably cast on the division.
The next twist in this 205lbs saga will violently unfold on December 10th.
Below the main attraction, UFC 206 has gradually taken the shape of a solid PPV card. As well as the much anticipated Pettis vs. Holloway featherweight fight, one of the first showdowns announced as part of the epic UFC 205 New York line-up has been moved to Toronto; Tim Kennedy vs. ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans. Another fan-favourite fighter who finds himself competing in Canada rather than his scheduled NYC bout is Donald Cerrone, who will take on the ‘Immortal’ Matt Brown after his welterweight showdown with Kelvin Gastelum was nixed less than 48 hours before the event.
Keep checking Blasting News for more coverage of UFC 206 as the event draws closer. #UFC206