Jon Jones distanced himself from his inescapable dynamic rivalry with UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in a recent interview on ESPN.
The genuine hatred between these two is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Two complete and utter opposites, a pair who have been through so much together.
You can fake animosity and you can feign respect where it suits you but one look at these two men facing off is enough to let you know that there is something very real and very dark between them.
And yet, Jones now stands at 2-0 over DC and in the eyes of many people, has done enough to close the book – despite Cormier’s surging run of form.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani in a far-ranging interview that touched on a myriad of topics that have surrounded him in recent times, he, of course, took a moment to speak directly to his rival Daniel Cormier.
“He won’t [go back to light heavyweight]. I think it takes a lot out of him to make that weight cut. I haven’t seen him in person, but I hear that he’s bigger than ever, and to lose all that weight and come up short a third time, it just takes a lot of courage, I would imagine.
“I don’t think he has the balls to do it. I think he knows what to say to the people to appear not afraid of me, but I think deep down inside, he knows what it’s like after losing to me twice, going home, crying. I just doubt that he’s going to do that to himself again.
“I’ve been done with him. Daniel Cormier is not my toughest opponent. [Alexander] Gustafsson was my toughest opponent. [Cormier] is not this rival the world wants him to be to me. He’s a guy I beat twice.” (via ESPN)
In fairness to the champion, the pair of fights with DC were not overly competitive for the most part. A large part of the rivalry that exists between him and Cormier stems from the former Olympian’s dominance of everyone else he has fought not-named Jon Jones.
If Cormier can find a way past the former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 in their main-event rematch, there’s no doubt that the UFC will be looking to set up another showdown between these two giants before Daniel’s inevitable retirement.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena