The date was May 19, 2018. UFC Fight Night 129. Light Heavyweight up-and-comer Dominick Reyes just knocked out Jared Cannonier inside one round. It would be his third loss in his last four fights. It was time for a change.
November 3, 2018. UFC 230. Middleweight debut for Jared Cannonier. He knocks out David Branch in the second round. Back on track. 6 months later, he would travel to Brazil to take part in UFC 237, where he would fight Anderson Silva, who not only is probably the greatest Brazilian fighter in UFC history but possibly the GOAT. Amidst a showering of boos, in enemy territory, it took just one round for Cannonier to defeat Silva. The last time Anderson Silva had lost in the first round? 2003. In case you were curious.
Fast-forward to today. Cannonier is set to take on Jack ‘The Joker’ Hermansson on September 28, again, in enemy territory. This time, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen is just a six-hour drive, or a one hour flight, from Oslo, Norway, where Hermansson trains, and just a 4-hour drive from Uddevalla, Sweden, where he was born. Hermannson has been on fire. He has won 6 of his last 7 fights, and his only loss came against Thiago Santos, who almost beat Jon Jones, and I don’t say that lightly. He’s on a four-fight win streak, with his last victory coming against Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza. It was a pivotal win for ‘The Joker’, and it truly put him on the map.
The current landscape for the UFC’s Middleweight Division is as follows. Champ Robert Whittaker is set to take on Interim Champ Israel Adesanya in October, with the winner presumably set to fight Number One contender Paulo Costa next, I can only presume.
“That’s homework right there,” Cannonier said. “I have to watch that fight.” Who does he have winning? “The better man,” Cannonier said. “Whoever the better man may be.”
Yoel Romero is a question mark right now and to be honest I would’ve loved to have seen a rematch between Romero and Costa. Regardless, Kelvin Gastelum will take on Darren Till, on November 2 at MSG. I think the consensus here is that this is a very tough matchup for Till, being his first fight at Middleweight. Gastelum should win this. For what it’s worth, coming full circle here, I believe the winner of the Cannonier vs Hermannson fight will fight the winner of Gastelum vs Till in a title eliminator. But, what do I know? I only predicted Diaz vs Masvidal several days before Diaz beat Pettis.
Back to Cannonier, as I mentioned, he has moved down from Light Heavyweight to Middleweight, and if we’re being technical, he began at Heavyweight, then moved down to Light Heavyweight and now to Middleweight. What’s next? A move to Welterweight?
“I feel like I could,” Cannonier said. “But, I wouldn’t if it’s going to be a hard cut.”
A Heavyweight who’s moved down to Welterweight? Imagine that. Crazy.
How does someone improve on their last performance if they go out and beat a legend in one round? CAN you improve?
“You’re definitely going to see a better version of myself,” Cannonier said. “I guess you’ll see some more kicks. Maybe even some spinning shit up in there.”
Gotta love that spinning shit.
One of the things I like about Jared is that he is unapologetically himself. He’s not trying to engage in trash talk or conform to things. He’s here to take care of business and let his fists speak for him, and he’s not concerned about fans’ comments on this fight, mostly negative, with a large majority claiming the UFC just wants to give Hermannson an easy fight to pad his record. This is why they are called fans.
“I mean, I could see why they say that,” Cannonier said. “I’ve only got like 35 thousand followers. I don’t post a lot on my social media. I don’t talk a lot of shit about nobody. I’m on a different level than that. I’m not playing those games.”
Leading up to the Silva fight, the UFC Embedded Series followed Cannonier as he took a trip to his daughters school, where one of her classmates threw shade at him, claiming he wasn’t who he said he was, and that he wasn’t about to fight the GOAT.
When Cannonier fought Anderson Silva, on UFC Embedded, he was at his daughter’s school and there was a little girl who approached Jared and didn’t believe he was fighting Anderson Silva. I have yet to receive word on whether she will be attending his upcoming fight.
We know Hermannson is great on the ground. Cannonier just got a new striking coach and has made some tweaks to his game. Hermannson probably doesn’t want to stand up and throw with Cannonier. Now, we saw what happened to Ben Askren, when Jorge Masvidal knew, alright, this guy’s just going to try to shoot on me from the gate. Could we see another flying knee KO? If so, it won’t just be ‘for show.’
“Well, I absolutely will not be a part of any trends,” Cannonier said. One thing I will do is utilize proper technique in the right moments.”
How does Cannonier see this fight playing out?
“You know what I come to do.”
Let’s get it then. September 28th. Main card begins at 11 am ET.
(If you want to hear the full interview, find it right here or the image below.)