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Midnight Mania! Cormier says a third bout with Jones wouldn’t ‘change much’

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UFC 226: Miocic v Cormier Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

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Jon Jones is back, and that is always going to bring up questions about his rivalry with Daniel Cormier. As far as Jones is concerned, Cormier never won the title because he, Jon Jones, never lost it, so there is no reason to grant him a third fight. He also claims he isn’t interested in fighting Cormier at heavyweight, although he wouldn’t mind fighting Brock Lesnar.

Cormier, though, has dibs on Lesnar as long as he’s got the heavyweight belt, and he seems torn on whether to take the comparatively easier money fight with Brock or the legacy fight to avenge the losses to Jones. Via

“For the legacy, to win against Jones would be better,” Cormier said at the UFC 230 media scrum (video by MMANytt). “But at the end of the day, even if I win the fight, I’m still down 2-1. It doesn’t really change much, he won the series. I’d have to stick around and try to beat him again. If I beat Lesnar, I’m up 1-0. But yes, for legacy, beating Jones because he’s the only guy that beat me in my career. That’s the one that means more for my legacy.”

Cormier’s insights on how he moved past the losses to Jones- the only person to defeat him in MMA- are a fascinating glimpse into a true competitor’s psychology when dealing with crushing loss.

“I had to change the mental process in regards to him,” Cormier said. “I had to truly let go of it completely because when he failed that next test I was like, ‘I know I’m done by 40. If everything is what it is, if USADA is what they say they are, I’m never going to get to fight this kid again.’ I had to truly remove myself from anything in regard to him. The reality is, if USADA is what USADA is, you fail the first time and you get a year, if you fail a second time, two years seems like it’s gonna be realistic. At two years, there was never gonna be a way and that’s what has allowed me to kind of move past it.”

“We’ll never be friends. We’ll never be cordial. Me saying he’s a good fighter and stuff is probably going to be the extent to which we say pleasant things about each other. Even, he did an interview where he said he was happy for me - I don’t believe that. It’s fine though. He does not have to be happy for me. My accomplishment is my accomplishment. On December 29, if he happens to win the belt, I am not going to be happy for him but his accomplishment does not mean less or more based on my reaction. It’s his. It’s not Daniel and Jon or Jon and Daniel. It’s Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. We are two different people, so our reactions to each others success do not truly matter all that much.”

All speculation about whether or not a third matchup is in the cards is overlooking the fact that each man has a dangerous matchup in front of them. Daniel Cormier takes on power hitter Derrick Lewis this weekend at UFC 230, while Jon Jones faces Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch five years in the making. While Gustafsson does represent a uniquely difficult matchup for Jones, Cormier has faced both, and he thinks Jones will prevail again.

“I think Jones beats Gustafsson,” Cormier said. “I fought them both and with Alexander, outside of that big knee, nothing really hurt or anything. He kneed me in the third round but that was a round I won probably four minutes and 30 seconds of until he landed the knee, that’s why I won the fight. The second round he cut me but he won that round based on the fact that he got takedowns. That was at a time where I fought every takedown so hard that if I ever gave up a takedown, I lost the round.

“He’s a good fighter and he will present challenges to Jones because of his length that I can’t really present Jones with. But I think that Jones is just better. I know that when I’m fighting him, there are a number of things I need to worry about that I didn’t necessarily feel that against Alexander.”


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