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Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier trade verbal barbs in first post-brawl interview

There weren't any punches thrown this time, but Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier aren't done going at one another.

In a television appearance a couple hours after they brawled Monday at an MGM Grand press conference promoting their UFC 178 light heavyweight title fight, Jones and Cormier went at it verbally in a split-screen interview on ESPN News.

In relaying their versions of events, Jones remained calm and talked in a monotone voice, while Cormier frequently laughed, and interrupted the champion on a couple occasions.

Jones had barely gotten through his opening statement when Cormier broke in the first time. "You know what," Jones said. "First of all, I'd like to give an apology to the MGM Grand, all the fans ..."

"It's so fake!" a laughing Cormier interjected. "It's so fake!"

Jones continued with his version of Monday afternoon's events.

"Definitely not proud of what I did today," Jones said. "But, what happened was, we had a faceoff, and in he UFC, two athletes get very close in the faceoff, our heads touched, our nose rubbed together, it's a very intimate, very passionate moment for a lot of fighters (Cormier laughs). I've never actually had another fight put his hands on me by squeezing my throat. I reacted in self-defense by beating up Daniel."

Cormier again took a mocking tone with the champion before getting serious.

"I have actually never heard a fight being described as ‘intimate and passionate,'" Jones said. "I have no idea what Jonny Jones is talking about. First off, you're right, people get close to each other. But they don't put their head against yours and nudge you forward. In my lifetime, I will never, ever allow a man, I don't care if it is Mike Tyson in his prime, I don't care if it is Vladimir Klitschko, no one will ever nudge me forward with their head and not expect a reaction. ... Jon Jones will never bully me."

At this point, the studio talking heads went into the story of Jones' and Cormier's first meeting, back at UFC 121. Jones told his side of the story on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. Now it was Cormier's turn.

"I didn't expect Jon Jones to know who I was as an Olympian," Cormier said about that 2010 night in Anaheim. "I don't expect Jon Jones to know any wrestlers. He was the guy who was coming up to be the UFC champion. What I said was, how do you break the ice by insulting someone? That's the only problem I had. It was the first time he and I ever interacted. He walked up to me, he was a very tall individual. He looked down on me and started to make derogatory comments toward me telling me he can take me down so easy ... I'm like you don't even know who I am, guy? Why would I even start a conversation by being rude? That was the issue between Jon and I."

Jones took a swipe at Cormier's wrestling, using the brawl as evidence.

"Daniel Cormier being an Olympic-level wrestler, I thought it would be a lot harder to get him to the floor," Jones said. "And sure enough if you look at the videos which I'm not very proud of he was the one on his back and people were pulling me off of him."

Cormier was given the last word of the interview segment.

"This guy is such a fake human being," Cormier said. "He's a fake individual. I don't care to learn anything about Jon Jones that I don't know. The whole incident, I don't care about the incident. I care about Sept. 27, becoming the UFC light heavyweight champion, whatever. He's weak. He's a punk, he's a liar, he's dishonest. He's a whole bunch of things that he should not be proud of being."

While that was the end of this particular interview, there's another press day on Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles. So while the scuffling might be done for now, the war of words is far from finished.

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