Jeremy Kimball will be watching UFC 214’s headliner event this week with a bit more interest than the average mixed martial arts fan.
That’s because the Colorado Springs MMA fighter and former Doherty High wrestler could match up with one of the opponents one day.
On Saturday night, one of MMA’s biggest rivalries resumes when light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will try to defend his belt against Jon Jones in Anaheim, Calif., in a rematch of a 2015 fight.
In that battle, Jones successfully defended the 205-pound belt and handed Cormier his only loss. Jones won a unanimous decision, taking four of the five rounds on all three judges’ scorecards.
But Jones has fought just once since then because of out-of-the-cage issues. He had the belt stripped after testing positive for metabolites of cocaine ahead of that fight. Then he had the interim belt stripped after failing an out-of-competition drug test ahead of a rematch with Cormier.
During those troubles, Cormier won the vacant title and has defended it twice. He also defeated Anderson Silva in a non-title bout, when Silva took the fight on short notice after Jones had been yanked.
Saturday’s fight will be Jones’ first since the second suspension ended.
Granted, Kimball likely won't match up against either one soon, as his career is still closer to the start than the end, but he is eager to see who comes out on top.
“That’s my weight class,” Kimball told The Gazette this week. “So I’m just interested in watching.”
Kimball (15-6) is 1-1 in the UFC. But his last fight was his first win in the UFC and had plenty around the sport talking about his power, especially after his knockout of Joshua Stansbury earned him a performance of the night bonus.
Kimball also definitely has a preference as to who wins.
“I hope Daniel wins, because I just think he’s a better person,” he said. “But I think Jon Jones will probably take it if he’s the same Jon Jones that he has been.”