Hours after their rematch was announced for the main event of UFC 200, Jones and Cormier renewed their rivalry at a UFC 200 kickoff press conference on Wednesday in New York. And just as one never forgets how to ride a bicycle, the simmering tension between the two light heavyweights was evident from the outset.
"DC should have a lot of confidence," said Jones. "Outside of me, he's the next best thing. He can beat these other guys. He can't beat me. I don't believe greatness is coincidence, and I don't believe DC is great.
"If he was great, he would've beaten Cael Sanderson in college. If he was great, he would've made weight in the Olympics. If he was great, he would've beaten me the first time. I've never lost a fight. So let him be confident. He can beat these other guys all day. He's not beating me."
Jones defeated Cormier in Jan. 2015 via unanimous decision to defend his UFC light heavyweight title for a record eighth consecutive time. He was subsequently stripped of his belt and suspended by the UFC for his role in a widely publicized hit-and-run accident. In Jones' stead, Cormier seized the mantle and has reigned as UFC light heavyweight champion, much to the chagrin of his rival.
But now Jones is back. The pound-for-pound great emerged from a 15-month layoff this past Saturday, routing Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 197 to claim an interim light heavyweight belt and score a rematch against Cormier on July 9 at UFC 200.
On Wednesday, Jones downplayed Cormier's title as nothing more than an interim belt and vowed that their second fight would play out in the same way as their first.
Cormier shot back by stating that he was unimpressed with how Jones performed against Saint Preux, and promised to bring the fight to Jones in a way that Saint Preux did not.
"I'm not changing anything," Cormier said. "I'm going right at his ass. I'm not changing nothing. I will tell him right now, last time I didn't take Jon down as many times as I wanted to. This time, they're going to say fight, I'm going right over there to take him down. I'm going to hold his ass down for 25 minutes. I'm going to take him down and hold him down for 25 minutes."
The rhetoric was similar to what Cormier promised to do against Jones at UFC 182, and Jones wasn't going to let Cormier forget how that kind of talk turned out the first time.
"DC has been lying to you guys for a long time now," Jones said. "Listen, DC told you guys, and I quote, ‘I'll take Jon Jones down 10 times out of 10 times.' Right? So far we're five to zero. I've taken you down five times.
"Last time, I foot swept you and held my hand on your head like you're my b*tch. And this is the guy who's supposed to be the Olympian. Come on, man. DC, you suck, bro. You call me a bum. I beat you four rounds to one. It wasn't even close. You're not even my toughest opponent. You're chump change."
Jones went on to ask the whereabouts of Cormier's training partner Cain Velasquez, declaring that Cormier needed a hug because "this dude is about to cry again."
The line drew a heated response from Cormier and brought common opponent Alexander Gustafsson into the discussion.
"Honestly, the last guy I fought, nobody's heard from him since," Cormier said. "And I didn't take him down. Where's he at? Where's the last guy? Has he retired? Where's Gustafsson? I didn't take him down the whole time.
"The moment Gustafsson walked out of the Octagon with you, he called for a rematch. He's never asked to fight me again. When I get my hands on this guy, watch, you'll see a difference."
Cormier added that Gustafsson left him worse for wear than Jones did at UFC 182, and that Jones didn't do anything to Cormier other than win rounds in their first match-up.
To that, Jones' answer was succinct.
"Oh yes I did," Jones said. "I made you cry."