ANAHEIM Jon Jones is back on top of the UFC’s light heavyweight division.
Jones, in his first appearance since April 23, 2016, won back his UFC light heavyweight title with a third-round TKO stoppage of Daniel Cormier at Honda Center in the main event of UFC 214 in front of a sell-out crowd of 16,610.
After a back and forth opening two rounds, Jones started his path to victory with a head kick that sent Cormier (19-2) staggering around the octagon, eventually falling to the canvas.
Jones (23-1) then pounced on top, landed several unanswered punches, forcing referee John McCarthy to stop the fight.
The victory was the 14 consecutive for Jones, moving within two of tying Anderson Silva’s record.
“It feels unbelievable,” Jones told the crowd. “All the love and support, I know it isn’t easy to root me, but I love you all so much. You guys motivated me to keep fighting.
“You can’t bend me, you can’t break me. I feel stronger than ever. I hope this motivates someone else. My work is still a work in progress.”
The end came at 3:01 of the round.
“He looked incredible,” UFC President Dana White said of Jones. “To do what he did with as much time he had off ….Tonight in my opinion, he looked like he hadn’t skipped a beat.”
White added that the Pay-Per-View was trending more than 1 million buys, which also made Jones happy.
There was a strong anticipation filling the arena at the start of the fight and the first round didn’t disappoint. Jones, utilizing his reach advantage was able to keep Cormier at distance for most of the round.
However, Cormier, worked his way in and found success with body kicks and combination punches.
One judge had Jones ahead entering the third round (20-18). The other two judges had the fight even (19-19).
Neither fighter landed a takedown and Jones was credited with 94 significant strikes, compared to just 57 for Cormier.
Despite all of their animosity toward each other, Jones and Cormier had only met once in the octagon and that was back at UFC 182, Jan. 3, 2015, with Jones winning by unanimous decision.
Jones tried to put aside any anger toward Cormier after the fight.
“In my absence he fought two of the toughest in division and he won those fights and he carries himself as a champion,” Jones said of Cormier.”
Jones and Cormier were scheduled to meet at UFC 200, but that fight was cancelled after Jones tested positive for banned substances.
Jones was stripped of the title in 2015. With the title…