UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is eager for a rematch with the man who handed him his only defeat, former champion Jon Jones.
But he made it clear he doesn't plan on surrendering home-court advantage by fighting Jones in New York.
"I think he's the greatest fighter of all-time," Cormier said after defeating Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192. "And when he gets cleared to fight, we'll fight. But I'm not gonna fight him in New York. So you guys can write that."
With Jones now officially reinstated by the UFC, though, the signal from his camp is loud and clear: If Jones wants to fight Cormier in New York, that's where the fight will happen.
"I don't think DC has any choice in the matter, to be honest with you," Jones' manager, Malki Kawa of First Round Management, said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "Everybody knows who the champion is."
A potential Cormier-Jones rematch comes with the seemingly eternal disclaimer that the sport of mixed martial arts still needs to be sanctioned in New York State. But with a tentative April 23 Madison Square Garden date on the books, Kawa says that Cormier, who lost to Jones, isn't in position to dictate the fight's terms.
"[Cormier is] a phenomenal fighter," Kawa said. "But he still hasn't beat Jon Jones. No one took that belt from him. At the end of the day, him parading around like ‘I'm the true champ,' it doesn't really sit well with me. I'm just me talking from my perspective. With that being said, to me I think it's an important fight for DC. So if Jon wants to fight him in February, March, April, May, June, July, whatever, I think DC should just step up and take the fight."
According to Kawa, Jones scored a lopsided victory over Cormier at UFC 182. Many others saw the fight as one that was close through three rounds before Jones pulled away during the championship rounds. Either way, there's no disputing Jones was the clear-cut winner by the time 25 minutes of combat was up.
"Here's the thing people forget: He's already beaten Daniel Cormier and it wasn't close," Kawa said. "So him talking, what does that really at the end of the day matter? He beat him up, he beat him up easy and it wasn't even close. He said he'd take Jon down a 100 out of a 100 times if he wanted and all that other stuff. And Jon kind of had his way. Took him down and did what he wanted and it wasn't a close fight at all. With that being said, if Jon wants to fight someone else, then Jon will push to fight someone else. If Jon wants to fight Cormier because he wants his belt back, and that's what's in Jon's head, then that's what Jon's going to do. It has no dictation at all because of Daniel Cormier."