There are few rivalries in all of sport that can match Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier’s in terms of sheer bite.
In combat sports more than any other, questions are always abound about the legitimacy of tension between competitors. There is an omnipresent suspicion that promoters and fighters are constantly conspiring to dupe fans into ponying up their hard earned cash with pro wrestling style angles.
But few would ever try to claim that Jones and Cormier are acting when they trade barbs.
The pair dislike each other with a scalding intensity and it’s obvious from watching each exchange they have that there is nothing choreographed or theatrical about their feud.
It’s as real and as captivating as it gets.
That’s why it was so disappointing when Cormier was forced to withdraw from his highly-anticipated rematch with Jones, which was scheduled for April 23rd at UFC 197.
When the news broke, everybody expected Jones to take a shot at his bitter enemy, but instead the former light-heavyweight champion flashed fans a glimpse of his compassionate Dr. Jekyll side.
I don't wish injuries on anyone, I hope you have a healthy recovery Daniel. Enjoy that belt
— BONY (@JonnyBones) April 2, 2016
His Mr. Hyde, however, was lurking in the social media shadows.
Later the same evening Jones sent out a tweet that didn’t exactly echo his earlier sentiments. It made reference to an exchange that the pair had during a face-to-face interview segment entitled “Counterpunch” in which Cormier claimed he was willing to die in order to beat Jones.
Following a common pattern with Jones, the tweet was subsequently deleted.
Despite Cormier’s withdrawal, Jones will remain in headline bout at UFC 197. It was announced on Saturday night that his new opponent would be Ovince St. Preux.