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Manager: Jon Jones could return by April, asks Daniel Cormier to 'step up and take the fight'

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Cormier's quest to gain notoriety and respect as the true Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion doesn't seem to be gaining much traction.

At least not in Malki Kawa's eyes.

Kawa -- who manages former division champion Jon Jones -- says "DC" may have the belt around his waist, but the world knows who the real champ is. Which is why Malki declared on The MMA Hour that if Jones wants the inevitable rematch to take place in New York -- something Daniel isn't too keen on -- Cormier has no choice but to accept.

As far as a return date for Jones, Kawa says his ideal date would be on April 23, 2016 in New York City.

"Were working that out with UFC right now. Personally, I think in a perfect world, New York gets approved and he comes back April 23 at Madison Square Garden. I mean that's in a perfect world. If the stars align for UFC, the state of New York, and for Jon to come back and win his belt in front of his home crowd. That would be pretty cool."

He continues:

"I don't think 'DC' has any choice in that at all, to be honest with you. Everybody knows who the champion is. And I hate to sound that way, but the reality of it is that this fight is very important for 'DC.' If he's the opponent, whatever day it is, you have to think that he needs this fight just as much as anybody. I see what everybody's saying and thinks about him. Yes, he beat Gustafsson, Anthony Johnson, and congratulations to him, he's a phenomenal fighter. But, he still didn't beat Jon Jones. No one took that belt from him and at the end of the day, him parading around saying he's the true champion this and that and the other, it doesn't really sit well with me. It's just me talking personally from my perspective. With that being said, to me it's an important fight to 'DC,' so if Jon wants to fight him in February, March, April or May or June, July or whenever, I think 'DC' should just step up and take the fight."

Of course, New York is still off limits for MMA, despite the fact that UFC already booked a date at the famed Madison Square Garden.

Cormier defended his 205-pound strap at UFC 192 in a wild and entertaining five-round bout against Alexander Gustafsson earlier this month in Houston, Texas (video highlights).

As for Jones, he was officially reinstated by UFC last week after he was handed a probation sentence a few weeks prior to getting his ticket back to the Octagon.