NEW YORK — Jon Jones said at a press conference Friday that he wasn’t really interested in a third fight with Daniel Cormier because he feels like he has “nothing to prove.”
Cormier, though, said after his dominant victory over Derrick Lewis in the main event of UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden that there is still a possibility he fights Jones before he calls it a career.
Cormier, the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion, is targeting a fight with former heavyweight champion and massive money draw Brock Lesnar in 2019, perhaps at UFC 235 on March 2 in Las Vegas. Then, Cormier would fulfill his longtime promise and retire on his 40th birthday: March 20, 2019.
However, Cormier said Saturday that if Lesnar was unavailable for any reason, he would head back down to light heavyweight and fight Jones.
Cormier will cease to be the light heavyweight champion as soon as the bell rings in the UFC 232 rematch between Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. If Jones wins, Cormier said he’d like to go back down and face him for the title for a third time. And if Lesnar can’t go and Gustafsson wins, Cormier says former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic would be the foe.
“If Lesnar can’t fight and Jones loses, I’ll fight Stipe,” Cormier said at UFC 230’s post-fight press conference.
“If it’s not Lesnar at heavyweight, it’ll be Stipe. He deserves the rematch, I never said he didn’t. And I’ve always said it’ll be him if not Lesnar. I just didn’t want to fight him on three weeks notice, you’ve gotta understand that. I didn’t. We wouldn’t put our best product out there if it was him and I on three weeks. It’s better to have a full camp if we do it again.”
Jones was not keen on the potential of fighting Cormier at the UFC 232 press conference on Friday. Jones has two wins over Cormier, however the second one was overturned to a no contest when Jones tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
“Defend the belt that was never his?” Jones said. “I don’t understand how that works. If Daniel Cormier wants to come back down to light heavyweight, he’ll challenge one of the contenders for my belt.”
Cormier (22-1, 1 NC), who has only ever lost to Jones in his career, was asked how he felt about Jones’ comments after he finished Lewis via second-round submission Saturday night. “DC” said Jones should not be in a position to have that kind of leverage due to his previous transgressions.
“I’m sure USADA said whatever,” Cormier said. “But you still had steroids in your system. It does not matter. You can’t be on steroids in any way, shape, or form. It’s not fair. So for him to say, ‘I don’t think he deserves a title shot’ or ‘I’m not gonna grant him,’ who are you to grant me anything? I’m the guy that’s been here this whole time. Three years, I’ve been the light heavyweight champion, because this dude can’t stay out of trouble.
“That dude actually got in so much s**t, that they just said, ‘Here, DC, you can have the belt back’ last year after he knocked me out. Like, seriously. How crazy must the guy that won be for them to be like, ‘Hey man, you can just have this back.’ Seriously. ‘Because we know with you that s**t is safe — that s**t is safe in San Jose. With you, it’s safe. But with this dude? We don’t know what he’ll do.’ So they just gave it back.”
While Cormier will lose the light heavyweight belt on Dec. 29 when Jones and Gustafsson face off, the current double champ joked Saturday that he might end up with that 205-pound gold again without even fighting for it.
“I’m not sure if he wins in December and then gets in trouble again, they don’t go, ‘Hey DC, you want this thing back?’” Cormier said, laughing.