There were no physical altercations to report at the UFC 178 fan Q and A. But the verbal jousting continued apace. The two competitors who will meet for the UFC light heavyweight championship on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas continued jawing at each other. The back-and-forth exchanges ranged from silly to serious, from contentious to sarcastic, to, well, downright weird.
"It's going to be intimate," Jones cooed, echoing his words on ESPN News on Monday.
"And passionate," Cormier added.
"I'm going to make you my wife," Jones replied. "You're going to be Mrs. Jones for the night. I'm going to rub on that big ol' belly and you're going to like it."
"It's going to be right in your face," said Cormier. "I'm going to put it right on your face. I'm going to smother you with my big ol' fat belly."
With that, moderator Megan Olivi chimed in with the thought no doubt on many people's minds: "This is getting weird."
Indeed it was. But what was clear by the time this exchange took place, about a half-hour into a chat which also included Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, was that Jones had taken on the role of the matador to Cormier's charging bull.
Jones set the tone early, when he once again claimed not to know Cormier's amateur wrestling credentials, which was the source of their original dispute when they met back at UFC 121.
"Can I ask you a question?" Jones asked.
"Yes you can, Jon," Cormier said.
"Can you tell me some of your accolades, because I really don't know as much as I'd like to," Jones said. "In wrestling. Tell me about them."
After some back and forth, Cormier said "I've won some big tournaments, I'm an NCAA All-American, national champion multiple times over. You know, more than anything I was an Olympian twice.
"USA baby, USA," Jones said. "What position did you finish in the NCAAs?"
"Second," replied Cormier.
"Oh that's nice," Jones said. "I didn't know."
It's long been said that for Jones to truly live up to his potential, he needs to embrace the hate he gets from segments of the audience, rather than try to be all things to all people. It appears he's doing so. Jones walked into a hostile situation in downtown Los Angeles, which was clearly Cormier's California home turf. The rambunctious crowd serenaded Cormier with chants of "DC, DC" and booed Jones' entrance.
The champ gave it right back. He told one fan who taunted him to "come here and say it to my face." Another fan brought up an incident in which the fan spotted Jones eating lunch downtown before the event, insulted him, and then asked for a photo, which Jones refused.
Cormier took Jones' side, telling the fan you can't insult a fighter and then expect them to take a photo.
"See that? He won't even stick up for his own fans," Jones retorted.
And so it went. Jones stayed calm, cool, and in control throughout the proceedings. Cormier got more animated as the event wore on, especially when Jones began interrupting Cormier, which happened more frequently as the chat unfolded.
"What the f---, let me talk," Cormier snapped at one point.
It's not like Cormier didn't have his moments, mind you. "He actually thought he won a fight yesterday," Cormier said, then brought the house down with a dead-on imitation of Jones' ESPN appearance the previous day.
At the end, Cormier was asked to sum up his thoughts.
"I've got to go in there and do everything," Cormier said. "Use every part of my body, my heart, my will, my soul, I have to leave everything in that cage on Sept. 27 and i'm fine with doing that. I'm okay with leaving every part of me in that cage."
Jones couldn't resist one last jab.
"And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why he's a commentator," the champ said. "He's a great talker. He's got me over there like ‘man, that's deep.' I feel you, my brother."
"You're such an a--hole," Cormier retorted.
Unlike Monday, there was no face-off on Tuesday. It was probably for the best.