UFC 210: Daniel Cormier defeats Anthony Johnson to retain title

2:20 | MMA
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Sunday April 9th, 2017

In a rematch of their UFC 187 bout, Daniel Cormier defeated Anthony Johnson, keeping his light heavyweight belt.

Cormier defeated Johnson to win the vacated light heavyweight title in their first go-round, a matchup that was arranged on short notice after champion Jon Jones, scheduled to fight Johnson, was suspended for a hit-and-run incident that forced him to vacate the title. The end result of that fight came by submission finish that crowned Cormier as the new champ.

At UFC 210, Johnson received a second shot at gold and at Cormier, this time with a full camp to prepare for a shorter, stockier opponent.

The fight began with a slow exchange of control from the clinch. After a break, Johnson exploded with a knee that caused Cormier to buckle, leading to a kick to the face that hurt the beltholder, but Cormier was able to clinch to ride out the clock for the remainder of the first-round.

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As the second round began, it was clear Cormier's nose was broken. He was able to get a high under-hook and keep Johnson against the cage. Johnson, however, was able to reverse and get the takedown. Cormier popped back up and responded with a takedown of his own and got Johnson's back. Johnson was looking to escape, but Cormier was content to sit on Johnson's back and pummel him from behind. The result was Cormier being able to draw Johnson into lifting his head, allowing Cormier to sink his arm underneath for the rear-naked choke in the second round.

Jones and Jimi Manuwa were sitting cage side, both lingering as potential future challengers to the light heavyweight title. Jones never lost the belt, having defeated Cormier in a tough contest on May 2015, which remains Cormier's lone loss in his career.

Johnson announced his retirement after the fight, saying he kept it a secret to avoid distractions. The distractions came regardless: Cormier weighed in at 206.2 pounds, 1.2 pounds above the 205 limit. He stepped on the scales a second time minutes later and was able to make the weight with his hands controversially on the towel.

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