Jones defends his light heavyweight title this Saturday at UFC 239 against Thiago Santos, and Cormier is set to defend the heavyweight title in a rematch with Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 in August. Both men are currently in Las Vegas, Cormier for a UFC summer press conference where he was asked if a third fight with Jones could be on the horizon should he get past Miocic again.
After taking a moment to think, Cormier confirmed that Jones’s name is perpetually on the table if the price is right.
“So this is the thing about a fight with Jones and I. It can always happen,” Cormier said. “It can happen whether it’s here, whether it’s in an Octagon. It may happen in the back when I’m leaving the building. It just always happens. Neither him nor I ever shy away from the opportunity to punch each other in the face.
“So when I’m done with Stipe and Dana opens up the book and goes this is what you guys are getting paid, then you guys may get a third fight. But ultimately that’s what’s gonna determine it.”
Cormier and Jones have one of the greatest rivalries in MMA history, with Jones winning both encounters (though the second, a third-round head kick knockout, was overturned to a no contest after Jones failed a drug test). Outside of Jones though, Cormier has been unbeatable, toppling a long list of legends and capturing UFC titles at both light heavyweight and heavyweight.
One tweak that could potentially make a third fight more intriguing is Jones possibly moving up to heavyweight to challenge Cormier for his belt, though Jones has been reluctant to make the jump. He recently told ESPN that he feels there is still work to be done in his own division and that he’d think about meeting Jones at heavyweight if fan interest was high enough.
The other reason that there is so much interest in a third Cormier-Jones fight is Cormier’s quest to end his career on a high note. He campaigned for a marketable fight with former UFC star Brock Lesnar that eventually fizzled, and has had to adjust his plan to retire at 40 after hitting that milestone this past March.
Getting the chance to beat the one fighter that has had his number might be the only fitting way to end his career, but first Cormier wants to show that he’s better than he’s ever been when he fights Miocic again next month.
“After back surgery, I felt worse initially. But now I feel better,” Cormier said. “I go into the gym now and I’m not leaned over. There were a lot of times where I would get off the wall after training and have to walk myself out of my back hurting. I would lean over at the waist and walk up to be straight, I couldn’t just stand straight. Now that I got this thing fixed and my training’s going well, I feel better than ever.
“I feel like I’m going to be able to show that on August 17. I thought last fight went well, you think it would go as good as it could, but I think I’ll show an even better version of myself in Anaheim.”