It’s hard for Daniel Cormier to escape the name Jon Jones.
Even with a heavyweight title fight coming up against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241, the 40-year-old former two-division champion will always be associated with Jones, primarily because of the bitter rivalry between them that still stands as one of the most talked about feuds in the history of the sport.
The connection is also that much deeper because Jones is widely considered the greatest fighter of all time with Cormier constantly nipping at his heels for that honor after winning titles at both light heavyweight and heavyweight. That’s something Jones has never done before, which gives Cormier the leg up in that part of the conversation.
Because Jones and Cormier have separated themselves from the rest of the pack by such a wide margin, it’s easy to understand the interest in a third fight between them.
Cormier also routinely gets bombarded with that question because he’s made it clear that he only has so much time left in this sport before he retires, which means the clock is ticking on any fight against Jones before he hangs up his gloves.
As much as the fight still interests people like UFC president Dana White, Cormier isn’t losing sleep at night about whether or not he’ll get the chance to test himself against Jones again before he’s done competing.
“When it comes to Jones, I know now with all that I’ve accomplished, I don’t need that fight,” Cormier explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I’ll be fine regardless but it will be something we revisit, me and my team, my management and everybody else and we’ll see if it’s something we want to do. Ultimately it will be my decision.
“Things are different. I feel like Jones is competing so many times because he has to try and one, regain the faith of the fans, but also retake his place in the sport and I did that. My place is secure with no question marks, no issues in regards in what I’ve done. It would ultimately be up to me to see what I want to do.”
Outside of retirement looming on the horizon, Cormier is also conflicted about a potential third fight against Jones because of the controversy that follows the two of them whenever they are matched up together.
The most recent incident came after Jones knocked out Cormier in their rematch in 2017 and at that point it appeared the rivalry was finished.
That changed when Jones tested positive for steroids following the fight and Cormier was handed back the light heavyweight title he just lost. In the months following that outcome, Cormier went onto defend his belt before then making the move to heavyweight where he defeated Miocic to claim a second UFC title.
Meanwhile, Jones continued to needle Cormier from the sidelines claiming that his light heavyweight championship was illegitimate, which meant he was never really in the exclusive ‘champ-champ’ club that included fighters like Conor McGregor and Amanda Nunes.
Cormier can’t help but wonder if a third fight against Jones — even if he’s victorious — wouldn’t come with more burden than it’s worth in the end.
“I think at this point in my career and my life, if you ask me these questions three years ago in 2015 after I lost to him the first time, I’d get all kinds of fired up about everything Jon Jones. Now I’m at a different time in my life,” Cormier said. “Maybe I’ve lost faith in the honor of the sport because I feel that if we fight again, at the end of it win or lose, something extra will always be tied to it and I’m not talking about past interactions.
“I’m talking even after this next one, something will happen and it will just ruin it. Even after our last fight, I was ready to move on. Like OK, you got me and look what happened. I guess I just lost faith in everything.”
As much as Cormier understands why the Jones’ questions will continue to follow him even after retirement, he’s trying his best to stay focused on the task at hand right now.
Cormier knows looking past someone like Miocic could be disastrous, which is why he can’t even contemplate a third fight against Jones until he dispatches the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history for a second time.
“Right now I’m so focused on Stipe Miocic because here’s the deal. At 205 [pounds], I’m not fighting guys like Volkan Oezdemir anymore, no disrespect to Volkan or Anthony Smith or Thiago Santos. I’m fighting the greatest heavyweight of all time,” Cormier said. “I think I need to be solely focused on that right now.”