clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dana White: 'Good thing' for Jon Jones that he didn't fight Daniel Cormier at UFC 197

Might have Jon Jones caught a break? Dana White seems to think so.

The UFC president believes it was a positive that Jones fought Ovince Saint Preux and not Daniel Cormier in his return fight after 15 months away. Jones ended up beating OSP by unanimous decision Saturday night in the main event of UFC 197, but it certainly wasn't the best showing of his career.

"I'm a firm believer in ring rust," White said on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show. "Jon Jones looked rusty tonight and it was a really good thing for him that it was OSP tonight, the sixth-ranked guy, and not Cormier, because he was able to get some rounds under his belt, get in there and feel himself out. Now he knows what he has to do when he gets back in the gym."

Jones was supposed to face Cormier on Saturday night, but three weeks ago Cormier pulled out of the bout with a leg injury and Saint Preux stepped in.

Jones' victory was decisive at UFC 197. He shut OSP out on the scorecards and one judge even gave the former champ a 10-8 in the fourth round. But many expected Jones to look more spectacular. Even Jones himself was slightly down on his performance.

"Did Jon look like a world-beater?" White said at the post-fight press conference. "Did he look like the Jon Jones who many say is possibly the greatest ever? No, but he won tonight."

White said in Jones' mind he thought he probably would have gone into the Octagon and been the same guy he was when he beat Cormier in January 2015. But, as White has said time and time again, ring rust is a very real thing.

Jones has not competed since that title fight due to troubles with the law. "Bones" was arrested on a felony hit-and-run charge in April 2015 and subsequently suspended and stripped of his light heavyweight title by the UFC. He was put on probation and given a conditional discharge in court last September. Jones was reinstated by the UFC soon after.

Cormier won the vacant title against Anthony Johnson last May and defended the title against Alexander Gustafsson back in October. Jones and Cormier, longtime rivals, are on a collision course for a rematch with Cormier as the champion this time.

That fight didn't happen at UFC 197. Jones was sure he would have beaten Cormier "really bad" had it. But White -- and Cormier -- are not so sure about that.

"Cormier is dying right now, wishing that it was him in there," White said.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting