Career Retrospective - Jared Cannonier



Inside the top 5 of the UFC Middleweight rankings, you will see names such as the top contender and former Middleweight champion of the world Robert Whittaker and former title challenger on Fight Island and undefeated when sober Paulo "The Eraser" Costa. But the fighter who currently sits at #3 is one who the casual fan cannot recognize. Jared "Killa Gorilla" Cannonier (14-5 MMA, 7-5 UFC) has fought in 3 different weight classes and one of only 3 fighters to earn a KO/TKO in 3 weight classes with the other two names being UFC legend Vitor Belfort and the biggest draw the sport has ever seen Conor McGregor. After the win on Saturday night after beating Kelvin Gastelum in a close hard fight 5 round Unanimous Decision, it makes him a winner of 3 out of his 4 and bounced back after suffering his first defeat in the Middleweight division to perennial number one contender Robert Whittaker.




UFC Run At Heavyweight


Cannonier made his UFC debut back in 2015 on UFC 182 - Jones V.S Cormier and faced Strikeforce and a UFC veteran of then 7 UFC bouts Shawn "The Savage" Jordan. His debut however did not go his way with Jordan controlling the pace and eventually catching him with a clean lead right hook which sent him down to the floor and finished him via 1st round TKO at the 2:57 mark and receiving his first professional loss in the process. He would return for his sophomore fight in the UFC over a year after his debut against debutant Cyril Asker in Croatia at UFC Fight Night 86. Luckily his fortunes would do a 180 from his debut, finishing Asker with a 1st round knockout with a left hook to ground and pound which earned him performance of the night and an extra 50 thousand in his purse. In an recent interview with Megan Olivi in build up for Saturday's main event, he said himself them that the other 4 heavyweight matchups on the card, including names such as Francis Ngannou, Derrick Lewis and JDS, they "towered over him" and he claimed he was never a natural heavyweight and it just happened to be in that shape when he converted to MMA. He incorporated a better and cleaner diet and more of a workout schedule and was able to cut down to 205 pounds compared to the 240 pounds he weighed against his bout with Asker.


UFC Run At Light Heavyweight



After his 1-1 run at heavyweight, he started his light heavyweight run which started with a matchup against always game Ion "The Hulk" Cutelaba at The Ultimate Fighter Season 24 finale. With the dropped weight gave Cannonier an improved gas tank shown with the 29-28 Unanimous Decision victory with media and judges alike giving Cutelaba the first round and Cannonier the 2nd and 3rd and a clip went viral of Cannonier walking down an exhausted Cutelaba with his hands down as he misses his looping punches and spinning backfists due to exhaustion. After the big win, he got matched up against the ageless wonder Glover Teixiera, who was coming off of his roughest loss, a highlight KO in just 13 seconds to Anthony "Rumble" Johnson. Teixiera neutralized him with his takedowns and top control which earned himself a 30-26 decision win which included over 10 minutes of control, with round 3 being scored a 10-8 for Teixiera. After the tough loss, he was matched up with Steve Bosse on the season 25 finale of The Ultimate Finale however Bosse pulled out of the fight due to an injury. Nick Roehrick filled in on short notice and make his UFC debut. Cannonier established early that the experience compared to Roehrick dominating both rounds 1 and 2 and finishing him in the third with a flurry of elbows and earned himself a top 15 spot in September of 2017 earning #15 next to his name in the Light Heavyweight rankings. After being ranked, he suffered two straight losses which were an Unanimous Decision loss to then #14 ranked light heavyweight and current UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz and being finished for the second time in his career by surging light heavyweight Dominick Reyes. These losses led to another drop in weight class.



UFC Run At Middleweight


After dropping down from light heavyweight, Cannonier got paired up against former WSOF champion and at the time #7 ranked middleweight David Branch. Which looked like a steep hill to climb for Cannonier after the first round with Branch controlling with takedowns up against the fence, but when in striking distance, Cannonier let combinations go. Showing high fight IQ, Branch shot in the opening seconds of the second and denied it, and as Branch pull away and separated, he landed a flush left hook and finished him for a 2nd Round TKO. After the victory, he solidified himself as a top contender with 2 more finishes, a leg kick TKO of Anderson Silva in Brazil, and a TKO victory over Jack Hermansson in the main event of UFC Copenhagen. After playing spoiler in two enemy territories, after Covid-19 set back UFC events for a short time, he and former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker were matched up in a title eliminator and the winner to fight Israel Adesanya for the championship. Cannonier, however, was simply outclassed, including his arm breaking when defending one of Whittaker's kicks. He lost via Unanimous Decision and in his most recent outing on August 21st, headlining a UFC Fight Night against Kelvin Gastelum. In a close fight, Cannonier won a 48-47 x3 Unanimous Decision and defended his current #4 ranking, and remains 4-1 in his new home of Middleweight. After almost 10 years into his MMA career, Cannonier has found his groove and the right weight class, and we are expecting some more bombs thrown from the "Killa Gorilla" very soon. But he missed out on a great opportunity to have the nickname "Cannons," but we all make mistakes, but Jared is looking for one more win to secure that elusive title shot in the stacked UFC middleweight division.




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