The story of Jon a�?Bonesa�? Jones and Daniel a�?DCa�? Cormier is a long and complicated one. Although it reportedly started because of a simple miscommunication, the pair of world-class mixed martial artists have what can be considered the most heated rivalry in the UFC. That is, despite only facing off once in the Octagon. Jones and Cormier have different backgrounds, personalities, and fighting styles. There’s no question that these two larger-than-life athletes always give MMA fans fireworksa��both in and out of the Octagon.
Bleacher Report’s Bloody Elbow blog stated that Jones met Cormier in 2013. Jones made a friendly remark about being able to take down Cormier, who is an Olympic world-class wrestler. Jones said that when he approached Cormier, he made his comment with the intention of inciting a friendly rivalry:
a�?The whole story behind me and him is just so silly. I met him, and I came up to him with a big smile on my face. He’s another black guy in the sport, and I felt the need to say hello to him, and I was just like ‘hey man, I hear you’re a great wrestler’ and all this stuff, and he’s like ‘Yeah, yeah, you don’t know who I am?’ I’m like ‘No I don’t know who you are, but my coaches were telling me that you wrestle on the Olympic level.’ And I was like ‘I bet you that I could take you down.’
It was my way of trying to develop a new friendship, and he just took it so seriously, and he was just so offended that I didn’t know who he was, and from that moment on he decided that there was a beef between us. I was just trying to reach out to him at that moment, and he just decided that there wouldn’t be a friendship between us.a�?
Jones’ suspension caused his scheduled fight with Cormier to be cut from UFC 200. The fight, scheduled in July 2016, was just one of three canceled fights between the two. All three were ready to happen weeks or even days before they were canceled. About a month ago, Dana White said that if Jones is physically ready when he returns from his suspension after it expires in July, he can fight Cormier in late July at UFC 214.
MMA fans are holding their breaths for a fight that can be just as explosive as the rivalry.
After bursting onto the scene in Light Heavyweight division, Jones became the Light Heavyweight Champion in less than three years. He won his first three fights in the UFC, only losing his fourth due to illegal elbowsa��which led to a disqualification lossa��against Matt Hamill. That loss remains the only one of his professional career. He went on to win six of his seven fights before winning the Light Heavyweight title, finishing four of them. He defeated Shogun Rua for the title in 2011, finishing him in the third round. Then, Jones defeated his next seven opponentsa��including legends Quintin Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Glover Teixeiraa��becoming the longest-ruling champion in the history of the Light Heavyweight division.
Then, Jones was scheduled to fight Alexander Gustafsson in September of 2014 at UFC 178. Instead, Gustafsson was forced out with an injury. So, in stepped Cormier. As a Strikeforce Champion, he debuted under the UFC banner in 2013a��going 4-0 against Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Patrick Cummins and Dan Henderson. Jones/Cormier was still scheduled for September 2014, but first came the fireworks .
At am event in August 2014 held to promote UFC 178, the first encounter between the two took place. When the fighters met face-to-face, Jones pressed his forehead up against Cormier’s. Cormier then placed his hands on Jones’ neck and shoved him. This led to an all-out frenzy before a brawl broke out between the fightersa��as well as UFC security and other personnel. Jones tore his meniscus the following week and their fight would be rescheduled for January 2015 at UFC 182.
After that public melee, came another heated exchangea��this time a verbal one on a SportsCenter interview. The two fighters exchanged insults, with Jones saying to Cormier that he a�?could literally killa�? him. Cormier was noted saying, a�?you’re the [expletive] scum of the earth. You are a terrible human being.a�? Cormier also kept saying how fake Jones was.
Finally, the big day arrived: UFC 182. The hype leading up to the fight was going to make this one of the most memorable fights in recent memory. On January 3rd, 2015, the feeling in the arena was electric. The undisputed Light Heavyweight champion versus the undefeated challenger for the title belt. Who would be able to back up their trash talk and prove who really was the better fighter?
Turns out, the fight was well worth the hype. It was a close bout, with both fighters showing their skills not just in striking, wrestling, and defense, but also in resolve. Jones had the edge in takedowns, significant and total strikes, and control time. He was ultimately crowned the winner, not hesitating to continue insulting Cormier in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan in the Octagon immediately following his win. a�?I’m sorry I’m being classless right now. I do not like DC. That’s why I’m being this way,a�? Jones said to Rogan. DC’s loss to Jones still remains Cormier’s sole loss in his professional career.
Following his victory, Jones was matched up with powerhouse hitter Anthony a�?Rumblea�? Johnson, one of the Light Heavyweight division’s top contenders. He was originally scheduled to fight in May 2015 at UFC 187. But instead, became the main suspect in a hit-and-run accident in April. One that led to the first of a few major career setbacks. Jones ran a red light, hit two vehicles and then proceeded to leave the scene. The Albuquerque Police Department charged Jones with a felony and issued a warrant for his arrest. The UFC suspended the MMA superstar indefinitely and stripped him of his title.
Anthony Johnson was still scheduled to fight at UFC 187 in May 2015 for a title, but it would be for the now vacant Light Heavyweight title. And, it would now be against top contender Daniel Cormier. Cormiera��a very accomplished wrestlera��dominated Johnson, who is known more for his standup offense. Cormier smothered Johnson in the clinch and on the ground so much that a�?Rumblea�? was absolutely exhausted. Cormier finished Johnson in the third round via rear naked choke, and was crowned the new Light Heavyweight champ.
After his win, Cormier took the opportunity in his post-fight interview with Rogan to say, a�?Jon Jones, get your [expletive] together. I’m waiting for you!a�? That’s the only statement he made after the fight. He then stormed out of the Octagon as the new Light Heavyweight champion.
Nearly six months following his suspension, Jones was reinstated by the UFC. Unsurprisingly, the next Jones/Cormier fight was scheduled almost immediately. It was set up for April 23, 2016 at UFC 197. Unfortunately, another setback occurred when Cormier was forced to pull out with a foot injury. Jones still made his return at UFC 197 for a title fight, but the bout was against Ovince Saint Preux for the interim title. OSP is almost a carbon copy of Jones’ body type, but not his skill. Jones looked very rusty and a bit slow, but still managed to get a victory by decision.
Jones now had a fight and a new belt around his waist. Meanwhile, Cormier was the Light Heavyweight champ with one title defense already to his name. The rematch was all but set in stone. Their next scheduled fight for the unified light heavyweight title was set up to be the greatest PPV event in UFC history: UFC 200. But three days before fight night, Jones was taken off the card for a potential anti-doping violation that led to his one-year suspension by USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency). In another career setback, his interim belt was stripped from him for the second time in two years.
Cormier fought MMA legend Anderson Silva at UFC 200 in a non-title match, defeating him by decision.
Now returning from his most recent setback, Jones has been given the opportunity to fight his career enemy for the belt he never lost in the Octagon. It’s a belt he believes rightfully belongs to him. Cormier, now with three wins and two title defenses to his name since the Jones fight, has been overlooked as a champion for multiple reasons.
Jones has only fought twice since 2014, making many wonder if he will be ready to compete at the highest level against Cormiera��who is hitting the peak of his career at the age of 38. Should the fight take place in July, Cormier should be considered the favorite, if only due to Jones’ relative inactivity. If Jones looks the way he did against Saint Preux when he fights Cormier, it might be a bad night for him.
This fight is one fans need because Cormier is looking to become not only the undisputed champion, but a respected champion. Should he win this fight, he will prove once and for all that he is the rightful Light Heavyweight champion.
Jones, on the other hand, is looking to retake what was taken from him. Because he has yet to lose his title in the Octagon, watching his rival with what he very much thinks is still his belt is definitely eating away at him. Jones, of course, wants to win back his title. But he is also looking to cement his legacy as one of the best UFC fighters of all time.
Should Jones decline the fight, White confirmed that Cormier would fight big Jim Manuwa at UFC 214 on July 29. But is that what UFC fans really want? HELL NO. Hopefully, Jones and Cormier can just make it to fight night healthy and ready to put on another show.