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Paper champ no more, Cormier tells Jones ‘I hold the cards now’

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After winning the heavyweight title at UFC 226, no one can call Daniel Cormier a fake champion any more.

UFC 226 saw Daniel Cormier become just the second fighter in UFC history to hold two championship titles at the same time. Not only that, but president Dana White declared that he’d actually let Cormier try and defend both belts, an offer that wasn’t extended to previous champ champ Conor McGregor.

And while “DC” sounded interested in taking a light heavyweight fight before facing Brock Lesnar sometime in early 2019, it would have to be a big money fight. That doesn’t leave a lot of options, so naturally Cormier’s nemesis Jon Jones came up as a possible opponent.

”I mean ... I would if he’s around, but I don’t know if he’s gonna be around,” Cormier said at the post-fight press conference. “But honestly at this point, does he even deserve it? I hold the cards now. You may have won the fights but I hold the cards.”

”I’m the one that competed. I’m the one that went up and did something that you were not going to do. I went and fought the baddest man on the planet, the most successful heavyweight champ of all time. A great guy. A great champion. A guy that does everything the right way. And I won. So ... I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s going to happen.”

Cormier also reflected on how winning the heavyweight title affected his legacy, getting rid of the paper champ designation levied at him by Jones and various internet haters.

”This tonight, is for everyone that said ‘You’re a fake champion, you’re not a real champion.’” he said with obvious satisfaction in his voice. “You can’t question this one. You might question that light heavyweight title. You can question it to the grave. But I have something completely separate from [Jones]. And I’m very grateful for it because everything was tied to that guy.”

”No matter how much I beat everybody up, it was like ‘Well, he lost to Jones.’ Now in this heavyweight division - a division I never got to complete my journey in - I went and I completed it and became the champ. I’m a champion and I’m one of the Greatest Of All Time. I love Demetrious Johnson and I love Georges St-Pierre, and it’s going to be one of the three of us.”

Notably, Cormier is the only one on that short list to hold two belts simultaneously.

”Only Conor McGregor did it at the same exact time,” Cormier said with a big smile. “It’s a big deal and I’m very excited about it.”