LOS ANGELES -- Things started off civilly enough Wednesday at the UFC 214 press conference in downtown Los Angeles.
UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier expressed how much it would mean for his legacy to avenge his only career loss and defeat Jon Jones in the main event of Saturday night’s card at Anaheim’s Honda Center.
Jones, for his part, talked about being in a good head space after the tumultuous events of the past couple years.
But it didn’t take too long for the gloves to come off.
Cormier doubled down on his accusations of PED abuse against Jones, saying nearly all of the former longtime light heavyweight champion’s 19-fight tenure was in question.
“Well, you’ve probably, I imagine you’re about 3-0 in the UFC, those first three fights,” Cormier said. “Ovince St. Preux or that other guy, what’s the name of that guy he beat? Stephan Bonnar. Stephan Bonnar that is when you didn’t do steroids, but everything else in the middle.”
Jones, of course, took exception, and it soon devolved into the sort of mudslinging we’ve come to expect whenever the two fierce rivals interact, whether it happens in person or on social media.
“You look like a junkie here tonight,” Jones said. “He looks like a junkie here tonight. You look like a crackhead with a suit on.”
“I might look like a crackhead with a suit on but I’ve never been a crackhead with a suit on,” Cormier countered. “So you can say I look like one, but I’ve never been one.”
Cormier seemed got the best of that exchange, but he then went and scored an own goal by trying to make a joke about his UFC 210 weight-cut incident. In the leadup to his victory over Anthony Johnson, Cormier came in overweight at 206.2, then leaned on a towel in a second attempt, an old-school wrestling trick, and came in at 205 on the dot.
Jones pounced. “You should have given 20 percent of your purse to your opponent,” Jones said. “Technically you should have gave 20 percent of your purse to your opponent. You can forever say that you are the 206.2-pound champion of the world.”
That barb got Cormier heated.
“How the f*ck can you judge?” Cormier said. “You sit there with your f*cking mouth shut before I walk over there and smack the s*it out of you.”
Jones continued needling the champ.
“Ooh,” Jones replied. “Well, we all know he won’t do that, right? Are you mad, Daniel? The truth will set you free. You can say confidently that, ‘I am the only ever 206.2-pound champion in the world.’ You’ll always have that title.”
Things settled down from there, and those in attendance who might have been hoping to see a repeat of their UFC 178 press conference brawl were no doubt disappointed when the staredown went without incident.
But the back-and-forth during the press conference left no doubt the enmity still burns between the two.