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Fightweets: Is Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson a real title fight?

Esther Lin

Mixed martial arts will step aside this weekend as the biggest boxing match in a generation takes place.

But while Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao has commanded the bulk of media's combat sports attention, and for good reason, this wacky little sport of ours still managed to stay in the news this week.

Chief among the newsmakers, of course, was Jon Jones' latest round of negative publicity and the resultant fallout, including the new main event of Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 for the title which most assumed Jones would hold for years to come.

Without further ado, then, on to another edition of Fightweets.

Is DC-Rumble winner the real champ?

@TB_Money: Will the winner of Rumble/Cormier be viewed as a "real" champion in the eyes of fans/media? Or a placeholder?

I mean, I don't think anyone's kidding themselves into believing that anyone other than Jon Jones is the best mixed martial artist on the planet. Just like Mayweather's outside-the-ring foibles don't detract from the fact he's the world's finest boxer once he steps between the ropes, neither does anything that goes on in Jones' personal life change what he's accomplished outside the Octagon.

But Jones' took himself out of the game with his own actions, after being given multiple opportunities to get his act together. And his ever-looming specter doesn't render the new UFC 187 main event of Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson meaningless.

You've got the two top remaining light heavyweights squaring off. If Rumble wins, he remains a fresh matchup for Jones when Jones returns. If Cormier wins, sure, the fact the Jones just beat him in January matters. But on the other hand, a Jones-DC rematch in Jones' return fight, against Jones' most hated rival, wearing what he and much of the world will still consider his belt -- and you know Cormier would milk ownership of the title for everything it's worth -- basically means Cormier-Jones 2 would be bigger than the first fight. Easily.

And if Jones isn't ready for his return by the time the winner of Cormier and Johnson are ready to fight again, there are still guys like Alexander Gustafsson, Rashad Evans and even Ryan Bader out there. If nothing else, it makes for a fresh round of matchups. I mean, we all knew Dominick Cruz lingered out there as a nearly unbeatable bantamweight champion in exile, for different reasons than Jones, obviously, but that didn't make Renan Barao's rise, Urijah Faber's win streak and TJ. Dillashaw's win any less interesting.

So yes, there's a little bit of a feeling like we're watching the No. 2 and 3 teams in the AP poll play for the national championship only because the No. 1 team has been ruled ineligible, but it makes for some interesting matchups and when Jones returns, the fight will likely be bigger than ever. And isn't that the whole point of keeping a championship active?

Did UFC make the right call?

@sigep422w: Did the UFC get it right with @JohnnyBones or did they overdo it?

Yes. The UFC got things 100 percent right when they stripped Jones of the light heavyweight title and handed out an indefinite suspension.

Jones' alleged hit-and-run incident in New Mexico last weekend was basically strike three in his sting of incidents. Strike one was the 2012 DUI in New York. Strike two was the test result showing cocaine metabolites and the one-day rehab. UFC brass stuck their neck out for Jones on that one, knowing they were going to take loads of criticism by coming out so strongly in support of Jones in the wake of that one (And no, we don't count UFC 151 as a strike. That was a promoter and a fighter not seeing eye-to-eye).

And his answer to all this was to go out during his very next training camp and allegedly get involved in a car accident, run from said (just assume the word "alleged" is implied at every juncture here) accident, injure a pregnant woman, get caught with drug tools, and then vanish for a period long enough that certain chemicals would disappear from the blood stream if they happened to be there, before turning himself in.

I don't think Jon Jones is a bad person at heart. I really don't. But to have something like this happen in the wake of UFC 183 seems to indicate something's seriously awry in his inner circle.

Maybe he's surrounded by too many yes men in his personal life. Maybe some in his inner circle are treating him like a walking ATM rather than showing concern for his long-term well-being. Or, who knows? Maybe those around him are doing everything right, but Jones is going off and behaving this way on his own time, away from everyone.

Bottom line, though, is that up until this point, no one has ever held Jones responsible for his actions, including his employers. Jones was invincible inside the cage, and his one-day rehab and lack of consequences for his drug-test failure reiterated the notion he was untouchable outside.

The UFC plainly needed to get his attention. Jones' competitive fires are so fierce that he admits to crying after his DQ loss to Matt Hamill, even though no one sane considers that loss legit. Taking away his belt is going to sting. He's now lost two major sponsorships. He's going to lose at least one giant paycheck at the height of his career, and who knows how many more?

I hope Jones gets his problems solved, no matter how long it takes. After UFC 183, the conversation about whether he was surpassing Anderson Silva as the sport's all-time best fighter was starting in earnest.Yes, Silva's in PED trouble now, but he certainly didn't go down a public road toward self-destruction during his peak. So shelve the "all-time greatest" talk for now.

Prior to his latest incident, Jones was only hurting himself. Now he's allegedly injured a pregnant woman. Who knows what would have happened next time? And there would have been a next time if someone didn't take drastic action. So yes, UFC did the right thing here.

Notoriously unranked

@sigep422w: Why is @TheNotoriousMMA not ranked in the P4P rankings??

Should have quit while you were ahead with the Jones question, my friend. McGregor's not ranked P4P because his biggest wins are Dustin Poirier and Dennis Siver.

$100 MMA card

@auggie85: What fantasy UFC PPV card, if any, would be worth $100 and push 2 mil PPV buys?

Interesting question. Can we go back in time and do that Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko fight at Cowboys Stadium? No? Oh well. I don't know that any UFC lineup these days would crack two million buys. But to justify a MayPac-esque $99.95 price tag, I think you'd have to have a mix of superfights, relevant grudge matches, and popular names in general.

So if I'm looking at loading this up, with the caveat that, given this is a fantasy booking, we're ignoring politics and various red tape issues? Start with Georges St-Pierre returning and meeting Silva. Give us Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg Justino, once and for all. Add in Jones' return in a rematch against Daniel Cormier, who in this scenario has defeated Johnson and has been taunting Jones by flaunting the belt ever since. And, hell, give us a Nick Diaz fight against anyone willing to meet him under PRIDE rules.

As for MayPac, I'm expecting Mayweather to do his thing and get a decision against Pacquiao. Might have been a different outcome five years ago. I know I'm not exactly going out on a limb there, but I'm not going to be different for its own sake on this one.

The Cowboy vs. The Bull

@LeonVegaSuarez: Do you think Cerrone will still fight at 187? If yes, against who?

Well, this was answered on Thursday, but I’m going to use your question as an excuse to opine about the new fight, Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi. Reaction to this fight was mixed, at best. I understand why people who were looking forward to Cerrone vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov are disappointed. But I don’t mind the substitute matchup at all. Cowboy, for his part, is the sort of fighter who would rather keep active than throw away a fight camp. Makdessi has won four of his past five fights, and the only loss, to Alan Patrick, was a pretty bad decision. People complain the UFC doesn’t do enough to give guys a chance to break through. Makdessi’s been around long enough, he shook off a pair of losses a few years back. Let him have his opportunity. And given both of their preferences to stand and bang. it should be a fun one.

Got a question for a future edition of Fightweets? Go to my Twitter page and leave me a tweet.


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