It’s tough to argue against the idea that Daniel Cormier is probably best suited to offer his analysis on the upcoming heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic after he went to war with them on five different occasions during his career.
Jones, who debuted at heavyweight back in March, made quick work of Ciryl Gane to claim the vacant title while Miocic hasn’t been seen since 2021 when he lost his belt to Francis Ngannou at UFC 260. As soon as Jones vanquished Gane, he immediately began calling for the fight against Miocic, who is widely considered the greatest UFC heavyweight champion of all time.
Cormier acknowledges the nearly three-year layoff for Miocic could be a problem, which is why he believes the start of the fight against Jones likely foreshadows the eventual outcome.
“This fight will be determined very early, at least in my opinion,” Cormier explained on his YouTube channel. “Because we will know from the very start of the fight whether or not we are seeing the Stipe Miocic from before or if we’re seeing a slowed down version of the former champion. We’ll know that very quick.
“Because what we already know is that we do get a little bit of a slower version of Jon Jones. He is a little bit different than he was when he was a light heavyweight. No one could watch that fight with Ciryl and think any different. Because the left hand that the threw that ultimately led to the takedown was a lot slower. He even admits it — he goes ‘I gained 30 pounds, of course I’m going to be slower.’ But if Miocic is fast, if Miocic with his boxing background, Golden Gloves, is still fast, that could give Jones problems.”
From his own experience spending more than 30 minutes in the cage together, Cormier immediately understood Jones’ talent, but his ability to connect with strikes or land a takedown wasn’t as much about speed or power for him.
The same can’t be said for Miocic, who Cormier credits for displaying deceptive quickness, which was a lesson he learned in three fights with the Cleveland native.
“The one thing that I learned in the fights with Jones and I, was that he’s very good with his timing, he’s very good at fighting his spots, but nothing is overly fast or overly quick,” Cormier said. “His punches, his kicks are fast, his shots aren’t as fast but he’s got great timing and the ability to really pick and find those moments that he can land but Miocic is fast.
“You’ll be fighting Stipe, he’ll throw something and he’ll land and you’re’ like how did he get to me? He is fast, and if he’s still fast, he can get the job done. But if he’s slowed down, he’s almost 41 years old I think, if he’s slowed down, even a little bit, it could be a problem.”
When Jones hit the scale for his fight against Gane, he weighed 248 pounds and Cormier would like to see him get a little bit smaller when it comes time to clash with Miocic.
Cormier doesn’t buy that Jones needed to add a ton of size to compete at heavyweight because some of the advantages he might have against bigger opposition will almost be lost simply because he’s that much slower thanks to the extra pounds on his frame.
“I don’t know if Jon Jones competes any better if he weighed 250 or if he weighed in at 230 pounds or 227,” Cormier said. “I think even at 227, he would be OK at heavyweight. Because then he would maintain that speed that he had, which I think would give a lot of the heavyweights problems. That’s why I gave them problems. You’re fast for them, they’re a bit too slow.”
That said, Cormier knows Jones just has to go out and perform at his best if he wants to win because nobody has been able to hand him a legitimate defeat during his entire MMA career.
“He’s just got to be Jon Jones,” Cormier said. “He’s good. He’s talented. If you ask me in their prime, who would win this fight after fighting them both? I would probably say Jones, especially if he’s fighting at light heavyweight.”
Cormier will almost certainly call the fight at UFC 295 so he’ll be able to add even more perspective once Jones and Miocic are actually in the cage together. Jones is expected to enter the octagon as a heavy favorite to win but Cormier refuses to believe there’s no path to victory for Miocic.
“Many people are going to want to count Miocic out in this fight but that’s not necessarily the case,” Cormier said. “This guy’s the real deal and he’s there to win against Jon Jones in Madison Square Garden, which will essentially be a home game for Jones.
“I believe we learn very early though, who’s going to walk away with the heavyweight championship of the world.”