"The only time we ever saw him in a real gritty dog fight was against Alexander Gustafsson when it was tough," Cormier said on FOX Sports 2 after UFC 182 weigh-ins Friday. "Glover Teixeira, he was in a dog fight, but it was him doing the beating. He wasn't getting much back in return. So I plan on giving him what Gustafsson gave him times 10."
Cormier and Jones will finally meet Saturday in Las Vegas after months of build-up. There was the press conference brawl in August and the subsequent hot mic exchange. The two got into it verbally in an MGM Grand hallway Thursday. And before weigh-ins Friday during the fighters meeting, they went back and forth again.
It doesn't matter how much the two hate each other when they enter the Octagon, though. The UFC light heavyweight title will be on the line and so will be their undefeated records. Jones, of course, has a loss, but it came by bizarre disqualification in a fight in which he was completely dominating.
Jones, the champion, has schooled most of his opponents in the UFC besides, as Cormier noted, except for Gustafsson, who dragged him into the fifth round and actually beat him on many people's scorecards. The only scores that matter, though, were the judges' and Jones came away with the victory at UFC 165 in September 2013.
Cormier is hoping for a repeat, only with the challenger raising his hand. To do that, he knows he has to use the wrestling that earned him two trips to the Olympics.
"I've gotta take away his length," Cormier said. "If I don't take away his length, I'll lose. I can't stay on the outside of him. He's too long, he's too tall, he's too creative. I've gotta be in close, I've gotta take him down and I've gotta grind on him."
One of Cormier's catchphrases is "embrace the grind," which Jones called into question this week. The champion said he has heard that Cormier is known to break in practice and he's not nearly as mentally tough as he tries to come across. Cormier took umbrage with those comments after weigh-ins.
"I don't know where he gets it from, because I haven't broken in the cage once," Cormier said. "When he talks about me breaking in wrestling practice, that's happened when I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders back in 2003, 2004. I had a lot of things to deal with. So yeah, I've cried in practice. I've cried a number of times. Patrick Cummins said that. Jon's just recycling stuff that he said along time ago, but I don't know where he got that from."
Wrestling was the reason this bad blood started. When the two first met, Jones teased Cormier that he could take him down. Cormier, whose wrestling accomplishments dwarf Jones' own, was offended. And it'll be wrestling that Cormier leans on Saturday night -- "not even taking him down: faking takedowns, attempting takedowns, making him defend takedowns," Cormier said.
"I have to control the pace of the fight," Cormier said. "I can't allow him to make it a slow fight. Because when it's a slow fight, it's almost like he's out there taking pictures, doing all these pretty moves."
And it is Cormier's desire to make this fight as ugly as possible.