UFC light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier spent months explaining that he wasn't going to allow Jon Jones to get into his head leading up to their Apr. 23 main event rematch at UFC 197.
Cormier maintains the reason he lost a five-round unanimous decision to Jones at UFC 182 was that he became too emotionally invested in the bout. He believes the personal animosity between he and Jones cost him the fight and vowed to make the rematch a competition between professional athletes.
Well, that noble stance seemed to start breaking down the second the pair came face to face March 4 at the UFC's "Unstoppable" press conference event in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As Jones was cheered in his return, Cormier was booed by fans who see him as an illegitimate champion.
If you ask Cormier's confidant and training partner Luke Rockhold, it sounds like the boos really got to him.
"I love DC but yea," Rockhold told Jonathan Shrager of The Underground. "He played into the "Jon Jones being the bad guy" role too much and let the boos get to him. Just got to block that out. Be yourself. Who cares? If the people like you, they like you. If they don't, they don't. If they like Jon Jones, who the f**k cares? He let that get to him, no doubt."
Rockhold says he even had a post-presser chat with Cormier to bring him back to center.
"A little bit," Rockhold admitted. "A little bit. There's not much to say at this point. I think he kind of lost track of what he was doing there for a second and played too far into "bad guy" Jon Jones and tried to beat him down over outside the cage [issues]. Focus on the technique. Focus on the fight and what's going to happen. That's all I had to say, really."
As for the rematch itself, Rockhold believes Cormier can absolutely retain his title if he can make mental and technical adjustments.
"Everyone wants to act like it was that lopsided of a fight," said Rockhold. "It was fairly close. I think DC just needs to relax. The more relaxation he'll have the more vision he'll have and the more he can pick his takedowns here and there. I think he had a lot of success in the boxing. Implementing more takedowns and staying out of the clinch. Just basic things that are pretty obvious.
"There's other avenues that we might be focusing on, but it's pretty basic information. If you go back and watch the fight, the little areas that he was caught up in. I think he let the stage get to him too much last time and he just needs to focus on relaxing. Relaxation so he can see what's happening in front of him and what's unfolding and how to adjust to it."
Cormier defends his title to Jones Apr. 23 at UFC 197 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Sure blame it on the little guy... @RealChopperChi @AdidasCombatUSA #adidasmma @shootmediatv pic.twitter.com/yFSPbAVZ2Q— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) March 16, 2016
Wrestling day used to be my favorite day. Not anymore with all the beast we have in the gym.... https://t.co/pHH5y948m7— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) March 16, 2016
To quote @NateDiaz209 'I ain't surprised mother fuckers' #VenatorFC #JailTime— Bigslow (@LukeBarnatt) March 16, 2016
You going to watch?
#DWTS ❤️ almost time!! pic.twitter.com/eSlslmo4PB— Paige VanZant (@PaigeVanzantUFC) March 16, 2016
@MMAWeeklycom @TimKennedyMMA @SpiderAnderson Respect to Tim. But the active fighters should get priority.— Gegard Mousasi (@mousasi_mma) March 17, 2016
@mousasi_mma @MMAWeeklycom @SpiderAnderson NOOOOO!!!!! The only thing inactive about me in my herpes. I'm good to go!!!— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) March 17, 2016
KO in 30 seconds. = RT @lexkempjr: @ScottCoker I kinda like to see @realroyce vs @frankshamrock— Frank Shamrock (@frankshamrock) March 16, 2016
@danhardymma @AllScream4Stevn @TheNotoriousMMA I'm good n healthy trust me! sharper than I'v ever been, would love to show you how sharp— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) March 16, 2016
@danhardymma @AllScream4Stevn what's the hold up been waiting for your ass to get cleared for 2 yrs so I can punish you for your disrespect— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) March 16, 2016
Nick No. 1.
I could care less if. Fighter talks trash as long as it does not cross the line. Nick Diaz probably wins #AskBJM https://t.co/iDPabgZQu3— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) March 16, 2016
Rise and grind. Awesome waking up to USADA knocking on my door at 6am searching for blo... https://t.co/8LBr9Gul6L pic.twitter.com/kdERUEwOSL— Alpha Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) March 16, 2016
4Drug Test in 9months. People quit wasting ur money. Its genetics lol 7yr old State Champ Wrestler & Top US Sprinter pic.twitter.com/OLZ0WWyRER— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) March 16, 2016
Hit the meridians.
Not much better then hair wash at https://t.co/9PwceO2ZVS https://t.co/TK1C9fiA3O pic.twitter.com/T1xkwmPjOl— Gunnar Nelson (@GunniNelson) March 16, 2016
Announced yesterday (Mar. 16 2016)
Travis Browne vs. Cain Velasquez at UFC 200
Anderson Silva vs. Uriah Hall at UFC 198
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