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Daniel Cormier: Lifestyle made Jon Jones 'a middle-aged man at 28'

Esther Lin photo

The way Daniel Cormier sees it, the Jon Jones we saw against Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 197 is the fighter we're going to witness from now on.

A bulked-up Jones plodded methodically through his unanimous decision victory over Saint Preux in Las Vegas, a far cry from the fluid and dynamic striker fans have come to expect over the years.

Jones attributes this to a simple case of ring rust (it was his first fight in nearly 16 months) and of adjusting to a last-minute change in opponents (OSP substituted for an injured Cormier).

But Cormier believes that when the two tangle for the UFC light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 200 on July 9, we're going to see the same Jones we saw against Saint Preux.

"He'll be tough, he'll always be tough," Cormier said during a Thursday conference call. "He's a good fighter. But, you know, nothing's free. Nothing's free. So, the Jon that showed up against Ovince Saint Preux is the guy who's going to be in the Octagon on July 9."

As Cormier sees it, the partying lifestyle that led Jones into various legal troubles and ultimately caused him to be stripped of the championship last year has taken a toll on Jones. While Jones appears to be in the prime of his athletic career at age 28, Cormier says there are a lot of miles on the tires.

"All the partying, all the other stuff, you have to pay for that, and now we're seeing where, it's starting to take a toll. It's time for all the outlandish living and burning the candle at two ends, and now we're getting to the middle where it starts to burn out. So that's who he is today. He's not the guy from before. He may be 28 years old, but in reality, he's lived on this earth much longer with the long nights and all the other stuff he's done."

Cormier, for his part, is 37 years old, but according to the current holder of the UFC light heavyweight title belt, Jones is the one entering middle age.

"I've been here longer, in age I'm 37, but I haven't burnt it at both ends and become a middle-aged man at 28 years old," Cormier said. "That's you today. You're that slow guy that was in the Octagon on April 23d that looked like garbage."

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