The rivalry between UFC champions Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier is one of the biggest in the sport today.
Having fought twice before at light heavyweight -- with Jones winning the first meeting via decision and the rematch being ruled a no contest after Jones popped for banned substances -- the two are destined for a trilogy bout before "DC" hangs it up for good and walks away from MMA.
However, things are different this time around. Jones has rebounded from a picogram scandal to win back his light heavyweight title late last year, while Cormier has moved up to heavyweight to cash in on his first title not somehow connected to "Bones." With the new landscape forging a barrier between the two, somebody is going to have to budge.
Given Jones' history of teasing a move up to heavyweight it seems likely that he bulks up to meet "DC" on his turf. But that may not be the best decision for Jones considering Cormier's perfect record at heavyweight.
According to former UFC light heavyweight champion and 2019 UFC Hall of Fame inductee Rashad Evans, a fight between Jones and Cormier at heavyweight will not produce the same results as before.
Here is what Evans had to say about the potential trilogy fight during a recent appearance on SiriusXM.
"It'd be interesting to see the matchup at heavyweight because I guarantee it'd be a lot different fight." -- @SugaRashadEvans to @MieshaTate and @RyanMcKinnell on a potential third showdown between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier pic.twitter.com/fWDHPXfOuw— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) May 23, 2019
“I think if Jon Jones did fight DC at heavyweight it’d be a totally different fight,” proclaimed Evans. “I think Jon Jones knows that, he is a very smart fighter. I think he has a better chance of beating DC at 205 because when DC makes 205, it’s not only the fact that he’s gotta face Jon Jones’ skills — because that’s one thing in itself.
“But then he has to worry about facing himself on a physical sense. How much did he deplete his body during the weight cut? That seems to be what causes the damage later on in the fight when he can’t absorb a shot to the head because he doesn’t have enough fluid in his head because he’s dehydrated. That’s what happens when you cut too much weight.
“At heavyweight, he is a little bit more durable. He has this strength at heavyweight that he doesn’t have at 205. It’d be interesting to see the matchup at heavyweight because I guarantee it’d be a lot different."
While Evans is accurate in his assessment of Jones' move up to heavyweight to fight Cormier, it's still difficult to bet against "Bones" at this point. After all, Jones is arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter of all time and remains in his prime. He has never actually lost inside of the Octagon and seems more than capable of carrying that same success over to the heavyweight level.
That said, Cormier is undefeated at heavyweight for a reason. It's his natural weight class which allows him to push his high-pace attacks even further compared to what he used to do at 205 pounds.
Needless to say, whether at light heavyweight or heavyweight, the MMA world needs one more meeting between the two UFC kings.
What do you think? Would Jones be putting himself at risk fighting Cormier at heavyweight?