Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones had one of the most heated rivalries in MMA history during their runs atop the light heavyweight division. In 2022, both are officially members of the UFC Hall of Fame ... but no semblance of hatchet burying has been seen just yet.
Despite his current hiatus, Jones, 35, hasn’t retired from the sport like Cormier. For the former two-division UFC titleholder, “DC” was nearly flawless in his 26-fight career — his only kryptonite coming in the forms of two fellow all-time greats.
Jones handed Cormier his first loss in Jan. 2015 when the two finally met at UFC 182 after a lengthy and volatile build-up. Getting the better of the former Olympian, Jones went on to defeat Cormier via unanimous decision, eventually getting stripped of the title in April that same year after his infamous hit and run incident involving a pregnant woman.
Their rematch came two years later at UFC 214 and the roles were reversed with Cormier now the champion. Originally a second-round TKO for “Bones” with a stellar head kick to ground and pound sequence closing the show, his reclaiming of the divisional crown was short-lived.
“He beats me, gets suspended for the first time,” Cormier said on The Pivot. “Next time, steroids, failed. Next time, steroids, failed. It’s like every time we fight, and you get suspended, if we go through the interaction, and you won the fight, that memory does not disappear.
“Even though they said it’s a no contest, [they] saw [me] lose. It’s the truth. All he gets is time. Jon Jones even then was making probably $5 million. So Jon Jones, 2017, fights me in Anaheim, wins the fight, gets that ‘and new champion’ from beating me. [Afterward] they find out he tests positive for steroids. They say, ‘Oh man, he’s suspended for 18 months.’ Now you get 18 months, [but] you still got your money. And you’re still only 25, 26 years old. I’m 37, 38 years old. You’re 27, and you get a year off. It’s horrible, but it’s easy for him to say water under the bridge. But for me, it’s like, ‘Man, you did some stuff to my career that never let me settle, because now I don’t know.’”
As alluded to by Cormier, the Jones rematch was supposed to happen as early as UFC 197 in April 2016. However, injury forced Cormier from that encounter then UFC 200 fell apart when Jones tested positive for clomiphene and letrozole. Then, lastly, UFC 214 saw Jones flagged for turinabol and stripped of the title once more, ultimately reinstating Cormier as champion.
“I could know through the fights that maybe this dude is just better than me,” Cormier said. “But I also know that if you’re not doing the things that are boosting you, can you really work to the level that I’m working? … I can’t let it go. He’s a cheater.”
Cormier still found success post-Jones by going on to win the heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic and defending it once while he was also still the light heavyweight titleholder.
With Jones out of the fight game since Feb. 2020 when he picked up a controversial unanimous decision win over Dominick Reyes, he’s planned to follow in Cormier’s footsteps by pursuing heavyweight supremacy.
Even with all the issues he’s had throughout his career, Jones is still considered by many as one of the greatest fighters of all time, if not the greatest, and Cormier understands why.
“He’s got all these great instincts for fighting, but he just cannot allow himself to be as great as he is,” Cormier said. “That’s the one thing about Israel Adesanya that I said: He is becoming everything that everybody thought Jon Jones was going to be, in terms of expanding the box of what a mixed martial arts fighter can be. Because Jones was gonna be the man. If he stayed clean, he would’ve been the man, because people loved him. All athletes loved him and what he did.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Ohhhhh Mr.“increase fighters pay” not who y’all thought he was huh #Exposure— Hasim Rahman Jr. (@_HasimRahmanJr) July 19, 2022
You said “whilst.” That makes you a DORK. https://t.co/iMb0ptFgzS— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) July 20, 2022
I might start a camp in case something happens ♂️ https://t.co/LoaehJWzoh— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) July 20, 2022
There we go.
Sean Strickland that’s a yes from me— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) July 20, 2022
Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) vs. Nate Diaz (21-13); UFC 279, Sept. 10
DC just giving Jones another layup here to make another Frozen joke.
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