There has been an abundance of trash talk in the lead-up to UFC 214, and not surprisingly, much of it has centered around Jon Jones’ rocky path since his Jan. 2015 win over current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
One point of contention which Cormier has seemingly taken glee in poking is the failed drug test that sunk the duo’s planned rematch last year at UFC 200. Jones tested positive for two banned substances in an out-of-competition sample collected prior to UFC 200, the anti-estrogen agents clomiphene and Letrozol. That positive test led to a one-year suspension for Jones issued by USADA. And while Jones claimed the failed test was the result of a contaminated sexual-performance pill, Cormier has pointed to the situation as evidence that Jones may very well have competed his entire UFC career on performance-enhancing drugs.
On a media UFC 214 conference call Monday, Cormier didn’t outright repeat those old accusations, however he did allude to them by referencing Jones’ 2016 win against Ovince Saint Preux, which many observers deemed to be lackluster and was the only fight of Jones’ UFC career staged during the USADA era.
“I expect him to be as good as he’s ever been (at UFC 214),” Cormier said Monday on the media conference call. “A lot of people talk about the Ovince Saint Preux fight as if it was some horrible fight, but as I’ve watched it in my preparation, it wasn’t as bad of a fight as people try to make it out to be.
“He should be proud of the way he performed on that night, because that was the best of his ability. He fought as well as he possibly could against Ovince Saint Preux, so it wasn’t a bad fight, he did his job. So I expect him to be as good as he was against Ovince Saint Preux, because that’s as good as he can be. That’s who he is. That’s his best version of himself.”
The comment was initially ignored by Jones, however later on during the call, Jones admitted to his frustration about how Cormier has steered the narrative of the pair’s rivalry in the media, particularly with the allegations of steroid abuse.
“This whole thing that we’re going through, it has become an attack on my character,” Jones said. “That’s all this thing is, is an attack on my character. When people ask Daniel what he thinks about me inside the Octagon, he has sh*t to say about me.
“This is the first time I’ve competed against someone who is literally just fighting to prove that I’m a bad guy. F*ck it, call me the bad guy. I’m not fighting to be the good guy. I’ve never had anyone just attack — I mean, look at those interviews, it’s always the same sh*t. Now he’s trying to freaking convince the world that I did steroids. That actually gets to me a little bit, because I think deep down this motherf*cker knows that I wouldn’t do steroids. Come on now, come on now. Being the youngest champion (in UFC history), you mean to tell me I’m smart enough to outsmart f*cking USADA and f*cking the Nevada Athletic Commission for 10 years? But I failed a cocaine test? I’m a mastermind steroid user that beat all these guys for 10 years? He knows in his heart that I didn’t do steroids.”
The reply was met largely by silence from Cormier, as the two agreed earlier in the call not to address each other directly and to simply answer reporters’ questions. But Jones continued.
“This whole thing has become an attack on Jon Jones’ character,” Jones said. “I feel like when Daniel loses, he’ll be able to say, ‘well, I’m a f*cking good guy. I’m a good guy and at least people will respect me for a being a good champion when I had that belt in Jon’s absence.’ And I think that he deserves respect because he is a good guy. But you don’t have to sh*t on other people to try to make yourself seem that much, Daniel.
“We see that you’re a good person. We see that you’re a great husband, father, wrestling coach, team captain. I admire a lot of things about you. You’re a f*cking great dude, but you don’t got to f*cking try to convince the world that I did steroids, bro. Just f*cking look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘goddamnit, he’s younger than me, he’s athletic, he beat my ass, and he’s going to do it again.’ Don’t f*cking crush somebody else’s image to make yourself seem more mighty. You’re already a f*cking good dude.”
Cormier, asked subsequently for a response and whether he believed the rematch would finally take place at UFC 214, kept things brief.
“I have no doubt, I’m sure he’s done everything right to make sure that we get to the Octagon on Saturday,” he said. “So, I’m happy about that. But Jesus...”