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Morning Report: Daniel Cormier discusses being ranked ahead of Jon Jones, possibly putting off retirement

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Daniel Cormier
Daniel Cormier
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

For most of his UFC career, Daniel Cormier has played second fiddle to Jon Jones. Jones defeated Cormier when they first fought for the light heavyweight title, and Cormier’s reign as light heavyweight champion was always seen as lesser because he didn’t win the belt, only claiming the title while Jones was shooting himself in the foot repeatedly for three years. But when Cormier won the heavyweight title at UFC 226, becoming only the second “Champ Champ” in UFC history, “DC” finally had an achievement all his own, completely untethered to his rivalry with Jones, and for him, his success last year cemented his legacy and moved him past Jon Jones,

“For what I’ve done, winning the heavyweight title, everything was so tied to [Jones] initially that me getting the heavyweight title was something so completely separate, especially being that I was undefeated in the weight class prior,” Cormier told UFC.com recently. “Going up into a weight that was always thought to be my weight class, winning the UFC title, it helped me.

“I think for Jones to truly get back everything that he’s lost, it would be good for him and I to fight again. For me, I’ve established my career outside of him. He’s done things outside of me, too, but for him, it would be good if he got to fight me again.”

After a sensational 2018 that saw Cormier defend his light heavyweight title, win the heavyweight title, and then defend it as well, the former double champ (now only heavyweight champion after vacating his light heavyweight title) won Fighter of the Year accolades and moved himself into the No. 1 spot in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings, one spot ahead of Jones, a fact Cormier enjoys immensely and says he deserves, despite his less than successful history with Jones.

“It feels great,” Cormier said. “Even when they keep releasing the pound-for-pound rankings and I’m ranked above him and he goes, ‘That’s BS,’ absolutely not. You are a great fighter, but you’re a great fighter at the weight class you’ve always stayed at.

“I’ve done it in multiple weight classes and pound-for-pound says it’s a fighting style that translates across weight classes, and I’ve been the champion in two of them. So I think I am the definition of pound-for-pound.”

But the question for Cormier is, for how long? Cormier has previously remained adamant that he would be retiring by age 40, a mark he will hit in March. He is tentatively set to defend his heavyweight title against Brock Lesnar sometime before then and then, ostensibly, to ride off into the sunset with one of the greatest careers of all time behind him. But Cormier’s coach, Javier Mendez, thinks that DC may postpone his retirement for a few more fights and now it sounds like even Cormier is reconsidering his retirement plans.

“I think that was probably the greatest athletic year I’ve ever had,” said Cormier. “Not only from the success I had, but just everything – my life, my body holding up, my ability to train, my team in order – everything was good from top to bottom. It was a really, really good year for me. . .

“There’s nothing left to prove. But I’m not a guy that has been fighting just to prove things. I fight because I love to compete. It’s never been that I have to prove that I’m the best. That was never the reason why I fought to begin with. So if the desire is there to compete, then I’ll go and I’ll fight. But if it’s not, then I won’t. If I get ready to start getting into a training camp and I just don’t feel it, I won’t do it. That’s the beauty of being where I am today and being so at ease with my career and with my place and my standing in the history of the sport. If I get into a training camp, and I just don’t have this in me no more, I don’t have the desire to train as hard as I want to train, I’ll just stop. I fight because I still love to compete, and I still want to compete, that’s why I’m gonna fight.”

If he doesn’t retire, Dana White will be thrilled. The UFC president has been open about wanting to put on a trilogy fight between Cormier and Jones and its hard to imagine a world where Cormier doesn’t feel like training for Jones. But if it never happens, it won’t matter to Cormier, because his story is already among the greats.

“You’re looking at a guy who now stands among the greatest fighters to ever do it,” Cormier said. “It’s hard to really list a group of fighters as the best and leave me off if you’re being objective. To lose two fights to one guy and that’s it in your whole career and blaze through everybody else. Outside of those Jones fights, the toughest fight I ever had was [Alexander] Gustafsson. Everyone else I kind of buzzed right through.”


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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Should DC be number one P4P?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Yes
    (1006 votes)
  • 23%
    No
    (419 votes)
  • 19%
    Neither DC nor Jones should be #1
    (339 votes)
1764 votes total Vote Now

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