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Daniel Cormier: I'll face 'petty' Jon Jones at some point

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Daniel Cormier gets all fired up when the subject of Jon Jones is broached, particularly when hearing the light heavyweight champion's reaction to him. But he said Roy Nelson is the most dangerous guy he's ever faced, so he said no Jones talk until Oct. 19, when he plans to issue Jones a challenge.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Daniel Cormier isn’t downplaying his upcoming fight with Roy Nelson, but right now the match feels like a veggie appetizer for a main course - a showdown with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

There have been words expressed over the years between the two in a situation Cormier said dates back nearly three years to UFC 121 in Anaheim, Calif.

Cormier was in the back for the Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez fight and he’s kind of looking around and he said Jones said to him, "You look like a wrestler."

Cormier, who had come off being the captain of the U.S. Olympic wrestling team in 2008, responded, "I’m probably the best wrestler you’ve seen."

Jones, who had not yet won the light heavyweight title, but was on the fast track toward being one of the youngest champions, then said, "Well, maybe you get the cauliflower ear on the other side and maybe you can get a takedown against me,"

Cormier found the whole thing insulting.

"When you were in high school, I was on the Olympic team," Cormier said about the incident to Ariel Helwani on Wednesday's MMA Hour. "You should know your Olympians."

The situation came back this past week when Jones was asked about Cormier, the No. 3 ranked heavyweight in the world behind Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, as an opponent. Jones largely blew off the idea.

"Daniel Cormier is a guy who really wants to be famous," said Jones. "I don’t think he wants to work hard. I just think he just wants to be famous. You can see it in his physique. You can see it in his cardio. He’s just trying to get his Twitter followers up. That’s about it. He’s not relevant to me. He’s not even in the top five in his division. I don’t think he’s got 20,000 Twitter followers. He’s got short reach, bad cardio, he looked terrible in his last fight. I’m not worried about him."

Cormier made it clear he doesn’t want to talk about Jones again until after his Oct. 19 fight with Roy Nelson. At that time, the gloves come off. He’s promised that if he wins, he’s calling out Jones for a title shot.

It’s not just that Cormier has a lot more than 20,000 Twitter followers, as if somehow that’s a statistic of relevance in determining fight skill set, but it hits home when a wrestler who has made two Olympic teams is told that he’s something of a poser with a bad work ethic.

"I think it’s part of the game," Cormier said when asked if he thinks Jones was serious about what he said, as opposed to trying to build up a fight. "I never came out and said I’m the most ripped guy in MMA. I’m not. I haven’t cut weight in years. I haven’t tried to cut weight in years. I haven’t tried to diet in years. I clean up a little in training camp, but I’ve never tried to be the most ripped guy, so that kind of stuff doesn’t bother me. I just don’t like him saying I don’t want to work hard. He hasn’t spent a day in the gym with me. He doesn’t know my schedule. I know I’m training. It takes a big statement to say that about someone who has accomplished what I’ve accomplished. You don’t just come out of Louisiana, where there is no wrestling, to become a two-time Olympian in wrestling."

"It’s almost shocking that someone in his position could be so petty," said Cormier. "It was almost like, wow, we’re adults.

"Three points I want to make here. First, Twitter followers. He made mention of that two times in that statement. I don’t understand what that plays into an actual fight. It makes no sense in a fight. Two, how would you like to be Jon Jones’ friend? He says Frank Mir is his friend. He said I was terrible in the fight, and I beat his friend. What are you saying about your friend? Third, it’s petty. Answer the question and get through with it. He never completely answered the question. Do you want to fight me or do you not want to fight me?"

Jones also has a fight coming up, on Sept. 21 in Toronto, defending his light heavyweight title against Alexander Gustafsson.

"The truth is we’re going to fight at some point," Cormier said about Jones. "We have fights to get through first. Then all those things are going to have to be answered. Jon Jones can say he doesn’t know if I’m in the top of my division, but that’s a lie. That’s a bold-faced lie. It’s an obvious lie because he knows how many Twitter followers I have. It’s contradictory.

"It’s that Iowa Community College education."

Still, that doesn’t sway Cormier’s opinion of Jon Jones as an opponent.

"I only praise his fighting ability and the things he’s accomplished," Cormier said. "The other things, that’s a little childish."

There had been a lot of talk that Cormier would make his final decision on a move to light heavyweight based on the result of the Velasquez vs. Dos Santos fight on Oct. 19 in Houston, the main event on the show Cormier faces Nelson on.

Cormier said he was confident he was going to then get the fight, but isn’t as sure today.

"I was pretty confident until they said if Glover Teixeira wins, he gets the title shot, so now I’m not so confident. I said I was going to ask. How many times do we get told , `No?’ If I ask and they say, `No,’ it’s no skin off my back. What’s the harm in asking? Then I can start training for a championship fight."

Dos Santos has said that Cormier won’t be moving down, because he was going to beat Velasquez, and Cormier was going to be his next opponent.

Cormier, who said Velasquez wasn’t losing that fight, said the decision has not only been made, but he’s even established a web site to promote his dropping weight, and have MMA fans drop weight along with him.

"I’m going down to 205 regardless," he said. "Not only do I want to go down and fight, but I want to live healthier. I’ve got kids. I’m just thinking about the future."

He noted that 11 weeks out from facing Nelson, he’s at 230 or 231 pounds, and he hasn’t even started his serious training camp.

He pointed to following in the footsteps of Mark Munoz, who got serious about dieting and exercise, and came out in his career best condition in his recent win over Tim Boetsch. Cormier said he’s not worried about his weight for the Nelson fight, facing a heavyweight who usually comes in around 260 pounds.

"I’m going to weigh what I weigh," he said crediting "If I weigh 220, I weigh 220. If I weigh 225, I weigh 225. If I weigh 230, I weigh 230. I’m going to get up in the ring, be healthier, work hard. I have my eye on the division I want to be at, but I’ve got a tough SOB I need to be prepared for."

Nelson has insulted Cormier some as well, even throwing out a reference to a 70's term of Uncle Tom, when Cormier joked that he’d beat up Roy for Dana White.

"I would have been offended for any of my friends if something racist or racial was sad at one of my Asian friends or Spanish friends," Cormier said. "I’d have been offended. In a general sense, it’s a little disappointing. But it wasn’t a big deal. It fueled the fire. Roy and I seem like a soap opera, a daytime soap opera. I actually respect Roy Nelson. He’s real quick-witted. He always comes back with snappy comebacks. I don’t mind that. I think Roy is a smart guy, as for that deal, nothing that he said really pisses me off."

Still, Cormier admitted he wasn’t thrilled when Nelson claimed that he turned down a right with him.

"My hand was jacked up after the Mir fight," he said about the offer for a fight on June 15 in Winnipeg, the night that Stipe Miocic ended up beating Nelson, who took the fight on short notice.

"Now I get the real Roy Nelson, not the Roy Nelson who took the fight on short notice, because Roy is usually in pretty good shape," Cormier said. "He doesn’t gas."

Cormier called Nelson the most dangerous opponent he’s ever faced.

"Even though it may seem like I’m looking at Jon and the belt, I’m really looking at the belt, not even really Jon. But Roy Nelson is the most dangerous guy I’ve ever fought. He can knock me out with one punch," Cormier said.

An interesting aspect of the fight is that one of Cormier’s best friends, King Mo Lawal, who he’s known for 18 years, is in Nelson’s camp.

"I haven’t spoken to Mo about that," he said. "I think it would be unfair for me to ask him to change his training situation.

"We’ve known each other since 1995, in college," he said." We’ve been through a lot together. When I heard about my daughter getting killed in 2003, Mo was at my house for a barbecue. He’s loyal to a fault. Maybe he wouldn’t want to do it (help Nelson for the fight). I’m not sure. If I know Mo, I’m pretty sure he’ll try and distance himself in the whole situation."