Daniel Cormier submits Anthony Johnson again at UFC 210; 'Rumble' announces retirement
Daniel Cormier needed even less time to produce the exact same result in his rematch with Anthony "Rumble" Johnson in the main event at UFC 210 in Buffalo on Saturday night.
The first time Cormier met Johnson in 2015, he accepted the fight on short notice after former champion Jon Jones was stripped of his title following an arrest on hit-and-run charges in New Mexico.
On that night, Cormier needed less than three rounds to lock in a rear-naked choke to submit Johnson and claim the light-heavyweight title.
In a near carbon-copy performance, Cormier finished Johnson by the exact same submission Saturday, except this time he put him away in the second round despite suffering a broken nose during the first five minutes of the fight.
Johnson is best known for his massive knockout power, but the No. 1-ranked contender wasted no time looking for a takedown against the former two-time Olympic wrestler.
Cormier did a masterful job blocking the takedown before reversing positions against the cage until referee John McCarthy separated the fighters after the champion was caught grabbing the cage.
After the separation, Johnson went on the attack and landed a kick flush to Cormier's face that broke his nose, but he was able to avoid any further damage before the round came to a close.
As the second round got underway, Johnson once again went back to his wrestling, most likely in an attempt to throw Cormier off his game, but the strategy backfired almost immediately.
Johnson landed a takedown but Cormier quickly scrambled out of the position before taking his opponent's back on the mat.
Cormier quickly slipped his legs through to lock Johnson on the ground before wrapping his arms around the neck to cinch up the rear-naked choke. A moment later, Johnson tapped out from the submission as Cormier jumped up in celebration after the second successful defense of his light-heavyweight title. The stoppage came at 3:37 in the second round.
"I couldn't believe that he was actually forcing the wrestling," Cormier said. " We were OK giving up the first round. It was his round. I didn't want to take that head kick, but I knew as we went on, I would eventually get to him."
Immediately after the fight was over, Cormier told color commentator Joe Rogan to speak to Johnson first, who made a shocking announcement following his second loss in a UFC title fight.
"This was my last fight," Johnson announced to the Buffalo crowd. "I didn't even tell Dana White, I didn't tell anybody. My coaches knew, my family knew, my friends knew; I didn't want any distractions. I have to thank you all for being there for me.
"I gave my commitment to another job, something that I've been wanting to do for a while; it's not MMA-related or anything like that. It's just time for me to move on to something else. I'm tired of getting punched and rolling around on the ground with guys and stuff like that. Ain't nothing fun about that."
If Johnson is truly done with fighting, he would retire with a 22-6 overall record while still being ranked as the No. 1 light-heavyweight contender in the world.
As for Cormier — with a giant smile plastered across his face — he addressed the raucous crowd, which has been unrelenting toward him all week long, with very few cheers directed toward the light heavyweight champion.
"Boo me!" Cormier shouted. "I'm getting money and championship belts!"
Following the victory, Cormier turned his attention to top-five-ranked light-heavyweight contender Jimi Manuwa, who was sitting cageside following his brutal knockout of Corey Anderson in March.
Manuwa had asked to fight the winner of the main event, and Cormier wasted no time jawing in his direction just seconds after submitting Johnson.
"I told Jimi stop pretending he wants me. He don't want none of this," Cormier said. "You can't beat me, Jimi. Jimi, you could come in here with your bare knuckle and punch me. I will eat that. I will eat that! You can't beat me, Jimi. You can't beat me, you know it. Don't lie to yourself.
"I like Corey Anderson but you just beat Corey Anderson. Sit down, young man."
Shortly after Cormier had words with Manuwa, he then directed his attention at former champion Jon Jones, who also happened to be sitting cageside.
"Is that guy even eligible to fight yet? Don't talk to me about a guy that's ineligible," Cormier said of Jones. "When you get your [expletive] together and you're ready to fight, I'm here waiting for you! You know it. I've been waiting for two years.
"You got the first one but you knew after the first one that we had many coming. As a fighter, I respect him, we just don't see eye to eye. Locking me in here with him, that's a favor. He's a good fighter but still not eligible. When he gets his academics in order he can come back to the classroom."
Jones is serving a one-year suspension after testing positive for a banned substance last year and will be allowed to return in July.
Needless to say following Cormier's rant on Saturday night, he'll have his pick of opponents when he's ready to defend the title again.