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Jon Jones calls Daniel Cormier an ‘absolute coward’ for offer to help Ovince Saint Preux

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jon Jones was not amused by Daniel Cormier's offer to help Ovince Saint Preux prepare for UFC 197.

During an appearance Monday on The MMA Hour, Cormier extended an open invitation for Saint Preux to travel to San Jose and train -- all expenses paid -- at American Kickboxing Academy ahead of his UFC light heavyweight interim title fight against Jones on April 23.

While Saint Preux ultimately declined Cormier's offer, Jones was less than pleased by the whole exchange, which he saw as an act of fearfulness on Cormier's part.

"Daniel is an absolute coward who will never beat me," Jones said on The MMA Hour. "And I say that not from an arrogant place. I say that from a place where, me getting my belt back, it means everything to me. That belt right now is a big part of my life. It means everything to me. Me losing to OSP should be the last thing that [Cormier] would want, because if I were to somehow lose, that means he doesn't get to avenge his only loss."

Jones defeated Cormier via unanimous decision in Jan. 2015 at UFC 182 following a long and heated build-up between the two rivals. As fate would have it, the fight marked the unofficial end to Jones' reign as light heavyweight champion. He was forced to vacate the belt just months later after fleeing the scene of an automobile accident which left one pregnant victim with a broken arm.

With Jones out on indefinite suspension, Cormier rebounded by filling the void as UFC light heavyweight champion, first seizing the belt by submitting Anthony Johnson, then defending it against Alexander Gustafsson.

Jones' absence did little to cool the rivalry though, even with Cormier now ruled out of his anticipated rematch against Jones at UFC 197 due to injury.

"His inviting OSP to his training camp shows me that he's so grateful that he's not fighting me in three weeks," Jones said. "That he's so grateful that he gets to have one more family photo-op with that belt, because he knows that he's not going to beat me, especially now with a knee injury. He's going to be nursing his knee to get back to 100-percent. I'm going to just be getting stronger, better, faster, more rehearsed in my gameplan to beat him.

"So, Daniel, man, he's a mental midget. I'm not worried about Daniel. Obviously him inviting OSP shows that he's so lucky he'll be watching from the sidelines and not actually in that cage with me."

Of course, that was not the end of it. Jones called Cormier a "p*ssy" in an incredulous string of follow-up tweets after the interview.

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