Originally posted on The Sports Post  |  Last updated 6/6/13
Daniel Cormier is the best wrestler in the UFC’s heavyweight division. He can neutralize virtually any offensive with his ability to quickly close the distance, immobilize his opponents with the clinch and then drain out their energy before taking them down or beating them up against the cage. Several top contenders are yet to be truly tested by a strategy of this nature. Cormier’s wrestling could easily overcome the division’s most dangerous strikers and submission specialists and quite possibly earn him the heavyweight championship. Too bad Daniel Cormier recently announced that he’ll be dropping to light heavyweight by the end of the year. This creates an opportunity for an ever-evolving wrestler to take the division by storm with a smothering clinch-based attack that will reign uncontested since Cormier won’t be there to challenge it. Enter Shawn Jordan, a brick wall of a man who definitely has the potential to become the new DC post 2013. His past few matches showed that Jordan possesses the tools that make up the foundation for the taxing style that has built the legacies of various heavyweight grappling standouts. He’s got an above-average gas tank and an aptitude to exude a crushing amount of pressure until the match is over. In the coming months, Jordan will have perfected the ruthlessly aggressive clinch-based attack that led Cormier to supremacy. It was the former LSU fullback's cardio and bulldozing momentum that won him his last fight and nearly stole him the one before that as well. Mike Russow had him rocked a few times in the first round but Jordan fearlessly pushed forward and tied up the faded Russow in round two, sucking out any remaining energy Russow had to launch another flurry. After securing the take down, Jordan took full advantage of top position and hammered Russow until the referee called for the stoppage. Though he was repeatedly hurt by Russow early on and had reason to hesitate moving in, Jordan instead turned to his cardio and relentless pace to completely eliminate any remaining chances for dominance Russow could have had. His fight with Cheick Kongo was boring as hell but it did show that Jordan, like any successful wrestler, was willing to stick to his game plan throughout the whole fight even though it didn’t seem like it was working at all. He actively and fearlessly imposed his will and made Kongo play his game for the majority of the bout. Jordan engaged whenever he had the chance and it was his crushing pressure that left Kongo too tired to get off more than two significant strikes. The French veteran could barely even stand on his own two feet after the final round had ended because Jordan gave him little if any room to breathe or compose himself for fifteen straight minutes. Cardio is probably one of the only remaining advantages Cheick Kongo has over a decent portion of the division. He’s gone the distance more times than most of the other heavyweights in the UFC and is quite used to doing so since that’s what usually happens if he doesn’t get knocked out in the first few moments of the fight. Jordan’s game plan obviously wasn’t as effective as he intended it to be but the fact that he was able to make Kongo weak enough to eliminate his stand-up for the most part shows that Shawn Jordan at least understands how to suck the life out of a very well-conditioned competitor, a key component in his ascent to stardom. Jordan will face Pat Barry on June 15th, a fight he could easily win should he follow the basic formula of how a wrestler is to defeat a striker. Barry’s flaws in the grappling department have been exposed several times but “HD” will definitely be prepared for Jordan’s rushing tie-ups. He’ll look to immediately break Jordan’s attempts to clinch if he can’t knock his head off when he engages. Barry’s strikes are incredibly swift and powerful but after a five or so minutes on his back or pushed up against the cage, the spring in his step will decrease significantly and he’ll have little defense against the take down. It’s up to Jordan to rely on his superior cardio to constantly make Barry work and bring him out of his comfort zone. If Barry can’t pick his shots because he has no space or energy to take them, Jordan will win the biggest fight of his career and establish himself as the new nightmare for the strikers of the heavyweight division.  

This article first appeared on The Sports Post and was syndicated with permission.

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