UFC 182: No keeping up with Jon Jones

Jon Jones hands Daniel Cormier his first loss in defending his title at UFC 182

Jon Jones was true to his long-ago guess.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship light-heavyweight champion can indeed take down former Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier.

And by doing so on at least three occasions in the fourth round, Jones set himself apart from the previously unbeaten challenger en route to gaining a unanimous-decision triumph over Cormier on Saturday night in UFC 182 at the MGM Grand.

The three judges each scored it 49-46 in the champion's favor.

"All the [stuff Cormier] talks, it motivated me," Jones said afterward in the octagon. "I'm sorry if I'm being classless, but right now I do not like Daniel Cormier."

By winning his 12th straight UFC fight and successfully defending his belt for the eighth consecutive time, Jones (21-1) settled a long-festering feud with Cormier, a former Strikeforce heavyweight champion.

Jones chafed Cormier (15-1) more than four years ago by dismissing him upon an introduction, telling Cormier he'd bet he could take down Cormier in a fight.

The words stewed and created a toxic tension between the two, including an August on-stage brawl at a news conference. Cormier kept the fire ignited by wearing a "Break Bones" T-shirt this week, a reference to Jones' nickname.

Jones afterward declared himself, "Unbroken, and still [champion]."

Jones, the UFC's top-ranked pound-for-pound fighter, set the tone by grabbing Cormier's right leg in the first round on a kick attempt and slamming him to the canvas.

Cormier was a game challenger, however, and seemed to get the better of inside exchanges in the second round, also battling the champion through a competitive third.

Jones landed some scoring kicks to the head, but was sent to the canvas by Cormier at the bell, the move perhaps winning him one of the rounds from one judge.

In the fourth, however, Cormier was taken down twice within an 18-second span early in the round, and was beaten up by kicks and combinations until a final takedown by Jones at the bell.

The fifth was filled with holding.

"I just couldn't find my rhythm tonight," Cormier said. "Jon is the best for a reason and he was the better man tonight."

In earlier action, it was a good night for Donald Cerrone.

The lightweight might not be the next challenger to UFC champion Anthony Pettis, but the veteran took a major step to be next in line to Pettis' just-announced March 14 defense in Dallas against Rafael dos Anjos by winning a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Myles Jury of San Diego.

Ranked No. 4 in the division, the 31-year-old Cerrone (26-6) sealed his win over Jury (15-1) with a kick to the face early in the third round. He then closed the deal by getting Jury down and subjecting him to multiple kicks to the legs.

Jury with three serious choke attempts, short punches to the head and more disciplined jujitsu maneuvering.

Also Saturday, sixth-ranked welterweight contender Hector Lombard of Cuba landed enough power punches to slow down banged-up veteran Josh Burkman in his return to the UFC after a six-year absence.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

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