Jon Jones returned to the Octagon on Saturday night after spending a year and a half on the bench for yet another drug test failure, but he didn’t look too rusty as he outstruck Alexander Gustafsson on the feet and then finished the Swedish challenger on the ground with some mean ground and pound. The win, coming at 2:02 of round 3, earned Jones back the vacant light heavyweight title.
After the big win, Jones once again called out his nemesis Daniel Cormier, the man who held the belt while “Bones” struggled to keep his fighting career from collapsing under recreational and performance enhancing drug scandals.
”I know there’s a guy who’s been calling himself champ-champ, aha!” Jones told Joe Rogan in the cage. “I mean ... what guy just gives up his belt because someone comes home? Daddy’s home, DC. Prove to the fans you’re the champ-champ. Come get a taste. I’m here. Get your belt back.”
Jones expanded on those comments at the UFC 232 post-fight press conference (watch it here), dismissing Cormier’s entire reign as 205 pound champ.
“He works his hardest to try to discredit and try to de-legitimatize the fact that I beat him twice,” Jones said. “And the only thing I want to de-legitimatize is his claim of being the light heavyweight champion. He was never the light heavyweight champion. He never beat me. This has been my era since 2011.”
“I want to make that loud and clear. DC is no champ-champ. When we talk about an asterisk next to my name, there’s always gonna be an asterisk next to the idea of him being a champ-champ. The only way he can shut me up, what I’m saying right now, is to beat my ass. It’s simple.”
While Daniel Cormier has had a long held and widely discussed plan to retire once he hits 40 years old in March of 2019, UFC president Dana White thinks the heavyweight champ will be unable to resist the urge to put an exclamation point on the end of his career.
“So I was talking to Cormier during the Jones fight and he was all fired up,” White said at the press conference. “He was obviously very angry this week leading into this fight, and there was talk from his camp about him retiring without another fight, or maybe he was just going to fight one more fight. It sounds to me like Cormier’s ready to fight two or three more fights before he thinks about hanging it up.”
“And you know me: I’m always the first to say when it’s time for somebody to retire. Cormier’s the man, it’s not time for Cormier to retire. There’s big fights out there for him that people care about, and legacy type stuff like we were saying about Amanda [Nunes] and Cyborg. Cormier will fight anybody. Cormier hates Jones so bad. He was on a rampage this week, and he was being a bit of a ... drama mama this week. But I don’t blame him. They hate each other. When you hate somebody that bad, it brings the worst out in you.”
What do you think, Maniacs? Is Jones vs. Cormier 3 pretty much guaranteed?