In combat sports, rivalries often define careers, sometimes even more so than championships, and in MMA, there has been no bigger rivalry than Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Over the years, the intensity between the two has boiled over at various points, ultimately settling to a point of mutual, respectful dislike when Cormier returned to heavyweight and left the light heavyweight division. However, shortly after Cormier lost in his retirement fight against Stipe Miocic a few weeks ago, Jones vacated his 205-pound title and declared an intent to move up to heavyweight, and many viewed the timing of the announcement as an attempt by Jones to steal some of Cormier’s shine. Cormier, who has been taking time off following UFC 252, has not responded to Jones’ move but, after returning to his regular co-host duties of the DC & Helwani show on ESPN, the former two-division champion finally addressed the situation.
“Look man, I’m so passed this whole Jon Jones thing,” Cormier said. “At this point, for me to even give it any thought, it’s ridiculous. I know that as my story ends and there’s all this stuff to be accomplished, I’m not sure that he gets that. It’s whatever. I’ll take the longevity of a life of accomplishments than dealing with a guy that has had all those issues and almost seems as though he wants nothing more than to give himself a tough time whenever he doesn’t have that ability to fight anymore, which is sad.
“At the end of the day, I don’t know how this guy’s story ends and he’s got some real changes if his story doesn’t end very sad. So I’m gonna go about making my life as big as possible and not giving any of my energy to that stuff anymore.”
Cormier and Jones have a storied history with Jones being one of the primary reasons DC dropped down to light heavyweight in the first place. Over the course of their rivalry, the two fought twice, both for the light heavyweight title, with Jones taking a unanimous decision victory in the first bout and knocking DC out in their rematch. That fight was ultimately overturned as Jones tested positive for a banned substance, and a third fight never happened as Cormier returned to the heavyweight division and embarked on a trilogy of bouts with Stipe Miocic. And that trilogy, says Cormier, is the rivalry that he considers to be his career-defining one, not Jon Jones.
“My greatest rival is Stipe Miocic: a fireman, a husband, and a guy that loves his family,” Cormier said. “Not Jon Jones, a guy that has done those things in his life and has been a real education in what not to do. I’d rather my rival be a guy that’s a firefighter and that protects the community and loves his family and does things the right way. That’s who I’m gonna give my energy to when people ask about my greatest rival.”
Now it seems that Cormier’s two greatest rivals may be on a collision course. Though Miocic has said he will face whoever the UFC deems appropriate, in this case a rematch with Francis Ngannou, he has also said that he’s not interested in that fight and would like a new challenge. Conveniently, Jones’ move to heavyweight would provide exactly that and yesterday, Jones lobbied hard for that fight to be made next. So all signs point to Jones’ move to heavyweight being a serious one and Cormier speculated as to why the greatest light heavyweight of all time might have finally decided to move up.
“It all gets tougher. As you get older, it gets tougher,” Cormier said. “Those guys continue to improve and continue to get better, and they’re just as big now, they’re just as long, Dominick is just as athletic, it gets tougher. Maybe he just doesn’t want any part of that? Because he did say initially that he would fight Jan Blachowicz. . . Maybe it was Dominick Reyes or it was nobody and so he was like, ‘Okay, it’s nobody. I’ll go to heavyweight.’”
And despite the lingering dislike between Cormier and Jones, DC has always had a great deal of respect for the skills of “Bones,” and believes that the now-former light heavyweight champion will excel in his move up to heavyweight, even against guys like Miocic.
“All that I said before, those are personal things,” Cormier said. “When it comes to him professionally, if you have that skillset, the skillset that Jon Jones has, it doesn’t matter what weight class, he will be able to compete. That’s a fact. You can love him, you can hate him, but that’s a fact.
“He will compete against anybody. So for him to go to heavyweight, I don’t know if it’s as risky as people are trying to make it seem. He can fight those guys because I fought those guys. They’re big, they’re strong, they’re dangerous, but he can fight those guys.”
Cormier officially retired from MMA on Monday. He is a former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion and the second simultaneous champion in the organizations history. He also was the first champion to ever successfully defend titles in two weight classes. His career record stands at 22-3, with 1 no-contest.
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Can anybody tell me the difference between us both? ............ pic.twitter.com/qdvAYy37iS— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) September 1, 2020
Return of the (former) king.
The lightweight king is back https://t.co/Ite38O9rf2— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) September 1, 2020
if anyone needs help with paying bills, rent, tuition, etc.. let me know! i want to help as much as i can— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) August 31, 2020
That’s nice that Conor still gives you an allowance https://t.co/sHiLL5nlOE— Jake Shields (@jakeshieldsajj) August 31, 2020
Beets, they’re nature’s candy, don’t ya know?
Nice! I'm on beans and rice over here https://t.co/SgkaReX4f8— Dominick Reyes (@DomReyes) August 31, 2020
Man, haven’t thought about MVP in a while.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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