Heading into his UFC 210 main event bout against Anthony Johnson, Daniel Cormier felt he could walk through Johnson's shots and beat him like he did at UFC 187.
Cormier lived up to his words, defeating Johnson by second-round submission via rear-naked choke to retain the UFC light heavyweight championship. But the drama in the room was centered around former champion Jon Jones who is serving a one-year suspension for failing a drug test three days before his rematch with Cormier at UFC 200 back in July. Cormier knew Jones was in the building and had some pointed comments towards his rival.
"When you get your shit together and you’re ready to fight, then come to me," Cormier screamed at Jones." I’ve been waiting two years. When you get your academics together, then you can come back to the classroom."
The fight began with Cormier and Johnson each throwing powerful right hands. Johnson then did something many weren't expecting-- trying to take the two-time Olympic wrestler down for the entire round. While "Rumble" did take Cormier down for a split second, Cormier just hung out and had Johnson in a front guillotine for a good part of the round. With about 90 seconds left in the round, Johnson connected on a left high kick which wobbled Cormier and appeared to break the champion's nose.
It was much of the same in the second round. Johnson switched to a southpaw stance to setup another left high kick but instead went for another takedown. This time it didn't work and Cormier took Johnson down. After that, it was just a matter of time before Cormier did the same thing he did to Johnson almost two years ago.
Cormier rained down punches onto Johnson who was defenseless. The leader of the American Kickboxing Academy saw an opening, flattened Johnson out and locked in the rear-naked choke. Johnson tapped out instantly.
During his post-fight interview, Johnson told Joe Rogan he was retiring from the sport.
“This was my last fight," Johnson said. "I gave my commitment to another job. Something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Not MMA related."
Johnson ends his career with a record of 22-6 with 16 of those wins by knockout.
Cormier runs his record to 19-1 and is expected to face Jones later in 2017 when the latter comes off his suspension in the beginning of July.