Former UFC Lightheavyweight Champion Rashad Evans made short work of Chael Sonnen in his last outing at UFC 167, ere-establishing himself as one of the top fighters in the Light Heavyweight division. Now, there is word that Evans may be the fighter to welcome Daniel Cormier to the division, as the Heavyweight Cormier has long been rumored to be headed south to the Lightheavyweight class.
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It is a matchup with a lot of nuances to consider. The common thinking among UFC officials and UFC Lightheavyweight Champion Jon Jones is that the dangerous Cormier should not challenge for the title right away, rather he should fight another contender at 205 lbs first. Cormier was first rumored to be taking on Alexander Gustafsson, but Evans certainly fits the bill as a contender.
Evans has been on a flat run of UFC fights since he dropped the belt, and the Sonnen fight served to put him back on the right track. Evans also spent a good deal of his early career competing at Heavyweight. He has a solid wrestling base, and is compact, so he could conceivably make Cormier work for his takedowns. He is fast and a good puncher, and we have yet to see Cormier’s jaw really tested, so with a strategy involving a lot of lateral movement and avoiding the take-downs, Evans could make this a fight and not a cakewalk for the dominant Cormier.
It has been said over and over, but it bears repeating: Cormier’s first match at 205 lbs will be something to watch very carefully. Cormier represented the USA at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and he pulled out of the competition when he experienced kidney failure cutting to 208 lbs. He was younger, and had two to three pounds less to cut, and his kidneys FAILED?
Sure we assume he will be smarter about it, and that he will make the weight and the fight. But if he does, how will his recovery be now that he is in his mid -thirties.
Cormier will likely be favored should this fight be booked, but there are a lot of x-factors in Cormier’s weight cut that make this match a hard one to pick Cormier in.