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Daniel Cormier has watched Jon Jones fight '100 times' because 'it has to burn'

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Esther Lin

Some fighters never want to go back and re-watch a loss, especially if it was a pivotal bout in your career. Why subject yourself to the agony?

But that's not how Daniel Cormier sees it. Since losing his high-stakes UFC 182 light heavyweight title fight to Jon Jones, he's not just watched the fight, but done so obsessively.

"I've watched it 100 times," Cormier said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.

Why? Well, after his first career mixed martial arts defeat, the former Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix champion doesn't want to let the feeling subside. He wants the fire to keep burning in order to fuel his return to competition.

"It has to burn," Cormier said. "It has to feel so bad. It has to punch you in the gut every time you watch it."

Even then, though, Cormier can flip the mental switch from the personal to the cold objectivity required of an analyst. And what he sees, when he watches, was a fight that was highly competitive through three rounds, before Jones dug down and won the championship rounds.

"Every time I watch it, I watch a very competitive fight, and I watch one guy stay the course, one guy get off course, and that guy was me," Cormier said. "I watch my facial expressions change, and I watch my demeanor change, and I watch me go into a mode I shouldn't have been fighting in. I should have continued to go forward, I should have continued to pressure him, and press him."

When trying to figure out what went wrong, why he wasn't able to maintain the pace when Jones pushed forward, there's no one reason, but among the several one stands out in Cormier's mind: The fact that training partner Cain Velasquez's knee injury prevented him from being able to push DC in the gym in the lead-up to the fight.

"It was a very big deal not having Cain," Cormier said. "Because Cain, you need those days where you're in the gym and, you know, you don't just have success, you get beat up. There are days Cain will just beat me up and I needed something like that that in preparation for Jones. So you saw the beginning of the fight, I was able to keep the sort of pace I wanted to keep for five rounds, but I didn't necessarily have anyone to push me in fourth or fifth rounds to do that, it was a big deal not having Velasquez for this fight, but at the end of the day Jon got the job done."

Much was made in the bout's aftermath about Jones' action, from making an obscene gesture at the end of the fight to his attitude toward Cormier during his in-ring post-fight interview and in the post-fight press conference.

DC, however, doesn't begrudge Jones for gloating.

"I thought that was exactly what he should have done," he said. "Would I have done that? No. But that's exactly what he should have done as a warrior. Jon said a couple things that stuck with me. "I don't feel sorry for him, this is combat.' It's true. He shouldn't feel sorry for me. He won on that night. He got his hand raised. He had the right type of attitude."

Cormier says the loss stings even worse than his Olympic experience, in which he placed fourth in 2004 and had weight-cutting issues in 2008.

"In the Olympics, I did some things wrong," Cormier said. "Not dieting in the correct way, not always doing things right. This time I did. I thought all my ducks were in a row. I thought this time the stars were going to align for me and they didn't. So yeah, it was tough. I really did believe in my heart, I could get the job done. When it didn't, it was tough."

Which is why Cormier can't and won't let go of the Jones fight. In it's own way, it's the only way he'll be able to push forward.

"I'm not over it, it will never be over," Cormier said. "I'm not a sore loser or anything, but nothing changed. There's no relationship between Jon and I, there won't be a relationship between Jon and I, I just hope that we can cross paths and not actually go after each other."