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Jon Jones: Daniel Cormier needs to admit he was never UFC light heavyweight champ or ‘shut me up’

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The way Jon Jones figures it, Daniel Cormier really only has two options.

In Jones’ mind, Cormier can either admit to the world he was never the UFC light heavyweight champion or drop back down to 205 pounds and challenge Jones once again for the title.

Jones won the belt back with a third-round TKO finish of Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC 232 on Saturday night here at The Forum. On Friday, Cormier relinquished the belt that would have ultimately been taken for him at the start of the Jones-Gustafsson fight.

Now, we’re back where we were at the beginning of the Jones-Cormier rivalry back in 2015. Jones holds the title and Cormier does not, though Cormier is currently the UFC heavyweight champion. Jones believes that Cormier was never the true 205-pound champ since he never beat him in the Octagon and only held the gold while Jones was away dealing with legal and doping issues.

“He works his hardest to try to discredit and try to de-legitimatize the fact that I beat him twice,” Jones said at the UFC 232 post-fight press conference. “And the only thing I want to de-legitimatize is his claim of being the light heavyweight champion. He was never the light heavyweight champion. He never beat me. This has been my era since 2011. I want to make that loud and clear. DC is no champ champ. When we talk about an asterisk next to my name, there’s always gonna be an asterisk next to the idea of him being a champ champ. The only way he can shut me up — what I’m saying right now — is to beat my ass. It’s simple.”

Cormier became UFC light heavyweight champion in 2015 when Jones was stripped of the title due to a felony hit-and-run arrest. Cormier defeated Anthony Johnson at the time. He held the belt from then to Friday, with one hiccup.

In July 2017, Jones beat Cormier in a rematch by knockout. However, that result was overturned to a no contest and Jones was stripped of the title (which was given back to Cormier) when Jones failed a drug test for a steroid metabolite. Jones also tested positive for two banned substances in 2016, which led to him being yanked from the scheduled UFC 200 main event against Cormier.

Cormier went up to heavyweight in July and knocked out Stipe Miocic to win the UFC heavyweight title. He defended that belt against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 last month. Jones said he’s not interested in going up to heavyweight and meeting Cormier there.

For “Bones,” if he and Cormier are going to fight again, it’s going to be at light heavyweight, where Jones believes Cormier has to truly prove he was worthy of holding the belt.

“Me going to heavyweight would be making it extremely personal,” Jones said. “For me, I have no problem with DC. I have a problem when he comes out, ‘See, I told you guys he’s a cheater. I told you he’s a cheater.’ I have no real problem DC. I’m not gonna go to heavyweight and try to take everything from him and destroy his legacy and all that stuff. Is it possible I could do that? It is possible. But I’m fine having mine and he can have his. DC needs to admit to the people that he was never the light heavyweight champion. Or face me at light heavyweight and shut me up.”