Now that Jon Jones is once again holding the UFC’s light-heavyweight crown, the MMA world is buzzing about the possibility of him fighting his rival Daniel Cormier again, and at heavyweight. Jones says he has no desire to do so, but will it last?
Jones returned to the Octagon last night at UFC 232, and secured the 205 belt again, by taking out Alexander Gustafsson with ground-and-pound shots in round three. The performance served as a vivid reminder of how ridiculously comprehensive and dangerous the game of Jones is.
Leading up to UFC 232, there was extensive talk about whether Jones and Cormier will meet again, if “Bones” reclaimed the belt. Since Cormier recently dropped the 205 title, and because he’s the heavyweight champ, the consensus has been that if a third fight happens, it will be at heavyweight.
Well, Jones has distanced himself from fighting Cormier at heavyweight in the past, and following last night’s victory, the champ said this (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“He (Cormier) works his hardest to try to discredit and try to de-legitimatize the fact that I beat him twice,” Jones said. “And the only thing I want to de-legitimatize is his claim of being the light heavyweight champion. He was never the light heavyweight champion. He never beat me. This has been my era since 2011. I want to make that loud and clear. DC is no champ champ…”
“Me going to heavyweight would be making it extremely personal,” Jones said. “For me, I have no problem with DC. I have a problem when he comes out, ‘See, I told you guys he’s a cheater. I told you he’s a cheater.’ I have no real problem DC. I’m not gonna go to heavyweight and try to take everything from him and destroy his legacy and all that stuff. Is it possible I could do that? It is possible. But I’m fine having mine and he can have his. DC needs to admit to the people that he was never the light heavyweight champion. Or face me at light heavyweight and shut me up.”
Now, regardless of what you think of Jones’ USADA flags, at the end of the day, he did defeat Cormier twice at 205. So why would he move up to heavyweight to face Cormier, and likely hand his rival some advantages while doing so? One would assume Jones would be slower competing at heavyweight and Cormier would likely have a significant power advantage.
If you’ve followed the Cormier – Jones rivalry over the years, however, it’s kind of hard to imagine the latter simply doesn’t want to “destroy” “DC’s” legacy at heavyweight. It wasn’t long ago, after all, that Jones called Cormier his “bitch”, and even brought up “DC’s” wife in a lewd exchange on Twitter.
So, in other words, don’t be surprised if, with enough prodding from Cormier (if he’s so inclined), Jones changes his mind and elects to face his rival at heavyweight. Chances are the UFC is going to pressure both fighters to make this fight happen. It’s probably one of the biggest bouts the promotion could book right now, if not the biggest.