It’s no secret that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones and his next opponent, undefeated former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier, don’t like each other very much.
That shared sentiment was only magnified to epic proportions after their notorious UFC 178 Media Day brawl back in August, a spectacle that resulted in the NSAC handing down fines and community service to both fighters and Jones ultimately being released from his lucrative endorsement deal with Nike.
The emotional grudge match was rescheduled for January 3’s UFC 182 after Jones tore his meniscus leading up to UFC 178 in September. Now only two weeks away, Cormier is absolutely chomping at the bit to get his hands on Jones.
This evening, Cormier met up with his UFC Tonight co-host Kenny Florian to talk about his blockbuster bout with Jones:
In the interview, Cormier detailed just how much this title fight means to him:
“I’m thinking, finally. This is what I’ve been training for; this is what I’ve been wanting for years. This is not something that just started today; this is something that I’ve wanted since I’ve met Jon in 2010 when Cain Velasquez fought Brock Lesnar.”
Cormier went on to describe how he first met a young Jones, resulting in an incident that set the tone for the bad blood that has obviously lasted until this day:
“Our first interaction was unpleasant. Our very first interaction. From the moment we met, he decided that, in order to make a friendship with me, he was going to insult me. He insulted me, so he gave me bulletin board material, to use a football analogy. I stuck his picture on the wall that day, and I said, ‘One day I’m going to beat that dude.’
And now, I get the opportunity to beat him at his peak. If I woulda beat him a couple years ago, it wouldn’t mean as much as it does now. So this has been going for four years.”
“DC” has never been hurt in the octagon, let alone in serious trouble, yet he’ll be tasked with the world’s No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter when he takes on the dominant “Bones.” However, that doesn’t scare the former Olympic wrestler, who believes that he’s going to crush Jones’ overconfidence and send him back down the ladder:
“I think he falls back; he kinda falls back into the pack. He’ll fight me right back because we’ll rematch; that’s just right. He’s won so many times; they’ll give him a rematch. But, I think he’ll fall back.”
Cormier elaborated on just why he believes Jones’ career path will fall off when he beats him:
“What I mean in that sense is, you’re right Kenny, he does believe that he’s unbeatable. He does believe he’s invincible. But once he knows that he can be beat, once he understands that no one is afraid of him, a guy is his equal, Jon will fall back to the rest of the division. You won’t see him winning ten in a row anymore.
He’ll win some, but then he’ll lose some. And then he’ll go searching for answers. He’ll go up to heavyweight, he’ll come back down.”
The challenger appears to have some genuine hatred built up for the champion. He said he not only wants to take his belt, but also mark the beginning of the end for “Bones”:
“So my goal is not only to beat him and take his belt, I’m coming to throw his whole career into a tailspin. Because not only is he going to lose this fight, it’s going to put doubt and questions in his head. He’ll never be able to answer them.”
Playing his part extremely well in MMA’s most heated grudge match, Cormier closed with an emotional ending, declaring that he simply wants to banish Jones from the sport of MMA:
“You’re going to see a different man whenever he gets out of that cage on January 3, because he won’t wanna do it. When a guy that believes the way that he is, he won’t be the same. So not only, like I say, he’ll lose to me, but his career is going to go into a tailspin. His head’ll be spinning; he won’t know what’s going on. This dude’s in for a rude awakening, and afterwards, I don’t know what’s going to make him Jon Jones.
I’m looking to rid MMA of Jon Jones.”
Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports