The UFC light heavyweight champion told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour that his rival might look better than ever this far out of a fight. But putting on that much muscle, Cormier said, doesn't necessarily translate into being better in the Octagon. Especially when Jones has never truly lost a fight doing things the way he used to.
"Maybe he feels that by getting stronger, it's going to make him a better fighter," Cormier said. "The reality is, when I saw him getting so bulky, as a competitor, I thought, 'Wow, this isn't bad for me.' This isn't bad for me as a competitor, because the Jon Jones that was kind of skinny and maybe wasn't the bulkiest guy, it all worked, Helwani. It all worked. His body, the way his body was, it worked. It allowed him for range; it allowed him for optimal speed. It allowed him for quickness and agility.
"Looking at all the extra bulk, to me I was like, 'Well, maybe this will slow him down. Maybe he won't be the fastest guy. Maybe this guy is messing with what was given to him.' In reality, what has been given to him is perfect."
Jones beat Cormier via unanimous decision at UFC 182 back in January. The tables have turned since. Jones was suspended and stripped of his title after a felony hit-and-run arrest in April and Cormier won the vacant title by beating Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 in May. Jones has been reinstated by the UFC after being given a conditional discharge (probation and community service) by a judge and he is set to get a rematch with Cormier sometime in the first half of 2016.
In a sweeping interview with Helwani for MMA Fighting last week, Jones talked about his addiction to marijuana, loving to party and being a heavy drinker. Cormier thinks that perhaps Jones is filling that gap by being in the weight room constantly.
"Jon said before he had some issues with alcohol and drugs," Cormier said. "You have to replace that stuff with something and it seems as though his addiction is now weightlifting. And it's not bad. You replace it with something else. Something that can help you."
There is no love lost between Jones and Cormier. The two brawled during a press event at MGM Grand in Las Vegas in August 2014. Even after the first fight, there were no amends made. The fact that Cormier has a belt that Jones held for five years cannot sit well with the former champ. But "DC" doesn't think that is the only thing driving Jones.
"It's part of it, obviously," Cormier said. "But no. I would not give myself that much credit. This guy doesn't wake up in the morning going, 'Wow, I need to lift 500 pounds because of Daniel.' He's doing that for himself."
Even if it might not be the most beneficial thing for his fighting career, according to Cormier.
"Now he's gotten bigger," Cormier said. "For me as a competitor, I thought, 'Wow. You start messing with the recipe -- the recipe that's actually really, really good -- maybe this opens up the door for some of his competitors.'"