The general consensus among the professional pundits of the Interwebs, my fellow colleagues who actually get paid and make a living from their opinions, is that Daniel Cormier will win by unanimous decision against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187.
Well, I’m not a professional writer or even a paid one. My opinions don’t mean much, but here’s one to take to the bank: Anthony Johnson will dominate and roll to an easy victory against Daniel Cormier.
My guess is the pundits that pick Cormier to win remember Johnson’s first stint in the UFC, an up-and-down 11-fight stint that ended when Johnson showed up 11 lbs overweight for a fight against Victor Belfort. Remember, folks, this is a guy who has muscles for days, walks around at about 235 lbs, and is comfortable fighting at heavyweight. He had absolutely no business fighting at welterweight(!) and middleweight indicating poor promotional and fighter management. No wonder he lost four of those eleven fights.
Ever since Rey Sefo, president of the WSOF, decided to have Johnson to stay at light-heavyweight (which he previously did for one fight with Titan FC and an independant promotion) though, ‘Rumble’ has been on an absolute tear. He’s beaten Antonio Nogueira and Alexander Gustaffson in the first round, as well as Phil Davis, a tough-as-nails Mike Kyle, and Andrei Arlovski (at heavyweight).
His last win was arguably his most impressive as Gustaffson was supposed to use Johnson as a stepping-stone to get a rematch with Jon Jones. Instead, Johnson foiled the UFC’s plans in a fashion that more than about luck. Johnson was just the better fighter, both on that day and probably all days. That’s how wide the gap was in talent between the Swede and Rumble.
So if the transitive property applies in MMA at all, Johnson should easily win. He thrashed the guy who went toe-to-toe with Jon Jones (in Gustaffson) while Cormier got easily beat by Jones. Therefore, Johnson should win in less than a minute, right?
It won’t be that simple of course, but Cormier simply hasn’t looked better than the 205-pound version of Johnson. He’s just more of a known commodity to the pundits and Vegas, who backs Cormier as well.
There’s a reason Sefo was willing to build a light-heavyweight division around Johnson; he’s a level of fighter that doesn’t come around often (side note: he beat current WSOF middleweight champ and #1 LHW contender David Branch while in Titan FC). While Johnson may not be the level of fighter that can beat Jon Jones (who seems like he’s on a different level than all other fighters sometimes), I bet he can handle the guy who lost convincingly to Jones.
Expect Johnson to get earn the victory, quite possibly in the first round. And me to earn the victory over my fellow pundits for my correct prediction.
Main Photo: SAN JOSE, CA – JULY 26: (L-R) Anthony ”Rumble” Johnson punches Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at the SAP Center on July 26, 2014 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)