Weeks before the fight that is likely to define his career, Daniel Cormier said act two of what he has said he expects to be the Jones vs. Cormier trilogy will be completely different than the original.
Cormier spoke to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour on Monday and discussed the first Jones vs. Cormier fight from Jan. 3, 2015. The bout, which Jones won via decision, prompted Cormier to say, "When you came and you sat down with me and sat down with Jon Jones, to this day I think it is some of your best work. You got the perspective from inside the room, inside the battlefield. In my room, it was pretty somber. The guys were pretty quiet. You could feel the excitement, but you could feel the expectations of something so big coming. When I watched you and Jon, I saw him at ease. I think that was the difference in our mentalities as we headed into that fight.
"He was at ease," Cormier continued. "He had been there before. He had eight or nine fights like that.. I didn't have fights like that before. I was up on the stool. He was laying on the couch so relaxed. That's me today. There's no worry on my behalf. It's no longer, `Could I be UFC champion?' I've already done that. I just have to defend that now. I'm a different guy. I don't let this rivalry drive me anymore. I'm letting competition drive me and when competition drives me, I don't think anyone can compete with me. And that's why I feel so confident going into this fight."
"I'm a different guy (than going into the first fight) and I'm mentally at the best place I've been in a really long time."
Cormier noted that people constantly ask him if Jones is in his head, and he denies it's the case.
"He (Jones) says some of the weirdest things ever," said Cormier. "I am part of it, too. We are really like 12-year-old kids with the insults, with the level of the insults is just terrible. We've got to be able to do better. Jon says, 'You're balls deep in my head.' Is that the best you can think of?
"I will tell you with 100 percent confidence, Jon Jones is not deep in my head," he said. "The fact he actually thinks that, it makes me smile every day. He's deep in my head, but he's the one writing novels about me in response to anything I do. In his novel, you can sense his smile. He's walking around with his chest puffed out like I've really gotten to this guy. Come on buddy, you really haven't."