When Jon Jones was pulled from UFC 200 just three days out of the event due to a failed USADA drug test, Anderson Silva stepped in on incredibly short notice to fight Daniel Cormier.
The bout last July was pretty one-sided — Cormier won a clear unanimous decision. But fans booed the action because of Cormier’s wrestling-heavy style. He took Silva down and held him there for the majority of the three rounds.
Jones tweeted recently that he got a surprise call from Silva just about one week out of his comeback fight against Cormier at UFC 214 on Saturday in Anaheim, Calif. On a media conference call Monday, Jones divulged what Silva told him on that phone call. And some of it was about Cormier’s strategy in their UFC 200 fight.
“He said, ‘It was almost surprising the level of fear I felt from Daniel,’” Jones said. He said to me, ‘I'm an old man now, and Daniel had to take me down round after round. I felt fear coming off of him. This man has fear in his heart.’ He said, ‘Know what you’re capable of, go out there and you take this from him.’ In a roundabout way, that’s what he said.”
Jones, 30, said he was very happy to get a call from Silva, the former UFC middleweight champion and all-time great that he has looked up to for more than a decade. Silva’s message, Jones said, was simply to “know what I’m capable of.”
“Anderson Silva is my idol,” Jones said. “He’s been the guy that I’ve respected the most since I was 19 years old and I got into this sport. And to hear him have that level of faith in me and pretty much tell me that it’s already done, now I just have to go out there and do what I’m capable of, it felt great. It felt great coming from him.”
Jones will be trying to get back the UFC light heavyweight title that was stripped of him in 2015 for a felony hit-and-run arrest. Cormier lost to Jones in January 2015, but won the vacant title in his absence. The two have been booked to fight again multiple times, but the rivalry matchup has fallen apart until now.
On the conference call, Cormier said he didn’t really care what Silva had to say about him to Jones.
“It’s good that they’re friends,” Cormier said. “It’s good that Anderson called him with advice. That would almost be like me having Glover Teixeira calling me to tell me how to beat Jon Jones. He lost. It's much easier to give advice about someone you lost to. He don’t want to see me win. I beat him. He don’t want to see me win. So go get Jon to do the job that he couldn’t do.
“It doesn’t bother me. I could really care less if everybody calls him and tells him how he should beat me or what they felt when they were in the Octagon with me. If a guy is just gonna fall down in the middle of the Octagon and let me get on top of him, I will gladly take that.”
Jones promised that his fight with Cormier will look nothing like Cormier’s fight with Silva last year.
“The one thing about me and Anderson is my takedown defense is solid, dude,” Jones said. “There’s no taking me down if things don’t go your way. There’s definitely no laying on me in half guard the whole time the way that happened.”