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Jon Jones says if it had been Daniel Cormier in there with him at UFC 197, 'I'd have beat him up pretty good'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It had been 15 months since Jon Jones had competed in the Octagon, and when UFC 197 was all said and done he wasn't thrilled with his performance.

Jones was able to dominate late replacement Ovince Saint Preux for five rounds in winning the light heavyweight interim title on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Yet he was critical of himself for not pulling the trigger in spots where he should have. He said in the post-fight press conference that part of that could have been ring rust, but more realistically it was the switch of opponent that ultimately gave him trouble.

Whatever the case was, many were wondering if Saturday night's version of Jones would have been able to beat his original opponent, current 205-pound champion Daniel Cormier.

To that question, the 28-year old pound-for-pound king was adamant.

"I would have beat him up pretty good, because I am tuned up to be fighting Daniel Cormier," Jones said. "You know, all my techniques, the angles, the ideas. I've been working on Daniel Cormier for seven months, for over seven months.

"It's like if you put the Patriots...I'm not even going to make a football analogy. I've been training for one fighter, and they threw me this taller, power-punching [fighter], switching stances. It just wasn't what I was preparing for. So I believe I can beat Daniel Cormier right now, for sure. And I'm going to prove that as soon as possible."

The rematch with Cormier to unify the belts looks like it will take place at UFC 200, pending medical clearance for Cormier. Jones himself was nursing a bruised shin and sore feet, but felt he would be ready to go on July 9.

With the win Saturday night, Jones moved to 22-1 as a professional fighter, with his only blemish being a 2009 disqualification against Matt Hamill. Jones was suspended and stripped of his belt for a hit-and-run incident in Albuquerque, and hadn't fought since UFC 182 in January of last year. He won that fight via unanimous decision.

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