It was competitive early (read the fight recap here), but then in the championship rounds, Jones once again demonstrated the heart and determination that separates him from every other trained fighter who weighs 205 pounds, laying it on "DC" en route to a comfortable decision victory (watch video highlights here).
Unlike most mixed martial arts (MMA) contests, however, Jones and Cormier did not embrace after their five-round melee. On the contrary, Jones landed a hard shot at the final bell and Cormier fired back with one of his own right after, grazing referee Herb Dean and drawing the ire (again) of "Bones."
While mutual respect was later shared at the post-fight press conference (watch video replay here), Jones made it clear during a FOX Sports 1 interview that there is still no love lost between him and the former Olympian.
"I have some good friends in the wrestling community, especially my wrestling coach. [Daniel Cormier] is known to break. If you put it on him, and don’t submit to his Alpha, he slows down. He did it against Chael Sanderson several times and in different matches I watched on YouTube. Whenever someone would face him, man up to him, he breaks. He says he’s the king of the grind, but he’s not. I just knew when cardio became a factor, he was going to look for a way out. This was absolutely not the toughest fight of my career. Alexander Gustafson, to this day, is the toughest fight of my career…. I out-grinded [Daniel Cormier}, I held him against the cage. He could net get off the cage. I wanted to prove that he was not the king of the grind. It was a pretty or technically sexy fight, I proved that he wasn’t the king of the grind, I was the king of the grind…. I don’t like Daniel Cormier. I don’t respect Daniel Cormier. And I hope he is somewhere crying right now. I’m sure he is. I can’t wait until he earns his way back so I can whoop him again."
That's because Cormier was very emotional at the post-fight press conference, at times fighting back tears as he explained what went wrong inside the Octagon and what his future might hold.
"I’ve rebuilt myself so many times like people can’t imagine. This is no different — it’s not going to ruin me. One way or the other, I will stand across the cage from that man again. I believe, just as I did tonight, I’ll take the fight to him again."
That clearly wasn't enough last night. And there's no telling if it will be enough if and when a rematch is booked. Jones, for now, is several steps above Cormier, and he'll now move on to a rematch with the more talented Gustafsson (even if he was unimpressed with his performance) if he can get past Anthony Johnson later this month.
Jones is the Light Heavyweight king. The king of the 205-pound grind.