Cormier vacated the 205-pound title on Friday ahead of UFC 232 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., rather than have it stripped from his waist as it was scheduled to go to the winner of Saturday’s main event clash between Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. That fight saw Jones defeat Gustafsson via third-round TKO to reclaim the belt that he never lost in competition.
From March 2011 to January 2015, Jones strung together a dominant title run that included eight straight successful defenses (including one against Cormier), but he was stripped of the championship when he was arrested for his involvement in a hit-and-run in April 2015. In his absence, Cormier became the champion and Jones would beat him a second time at UFC 214, only for that title win to be stricken from the records after Jones tested positive for Turinabol. That was the second failed drug test of Jones’s career and it led to a 15-month suspension.
Last Sunday, a drug-testing abnormality discovered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission convinced them to deny Jones a license to compete in the state, forcing the UFC to scramble and move UFC 232 from Las Vegas to the Los Angeles area.
Cormier was quick to mock the officials involved in clearing Jones to compete in California and continue his rivalry with Jones over social media. Following Jones’s win over Gustafsson, Cormier tweeted a not-so-subtle insult aimed at Jones’s drug test issues.
“I mean shit, he should win!” Cormier wrote. “Dude starts with a head start every time.”
The heavyweight champ also called the United States Anti-Doping Agency “fake” and Jones “Jonny Brasco”, a reference to famous undercover cop Donnie Brasco as Jones reportedly struck a deal with the USADA that involved him providing “substantial assistance” to the organization in exchange for a lesser sanction.
Cormier also directed a tweet at his fellow analyst Dominick Cruz after the UFC 232 broadcast team did their best to diplomatically discuss Jones’s recent drug test woes on air:
@DominickCruz you just said outside of all the testing stuff. Is there really stuff outside of the testing? Or we just do more testing and neither of us fail. That would be best case! We do that I’ll be back at 205!!!!!— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) December 30, 2018
“Dominick Cruz, you just said outside of all the testing stuff,” Cormier said. “Is there really stuff outside of the testing? Or we just do more testing and neither of us fail. That would be the best case! We do that, I’ll be back at 205!”
Though Cormier and Jones both seem interested in fighting a third time, Cormier’s last two bouts have taken place at heavyweight. He seems to be suggesting that if Jones can stay clean, he would consider returning to the light heavyweight division to take on Jones one more time.