Daniel Cormier just got done defending his UFC light heavyweight championship in a thrill war with Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of last night’s (Sat., October 3, 2015) UFC 192 from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, but not surprisingly, talk immediately shifted to just whom he would face next at the event’s post-fight press conference.
Obviously former champion Jon Jones, who took “DC” to the limit and beat him at January’s UFC 182 after a vicious feud, will presumably return to face Cormier sometime next year, but if you ask the champ, he doesn’t care if it’s “Bones” or Ryan Bader, who beat former champion Rashad Evans in the UFC 192 co-main event, next. If it is indeed Jones, however, “DC” won’t allow it to be in New York, where the promotion tentatively has a show planned for Madison Square Garden on April 23, 2016:
“I mean, I don’t really care, you know? I just want to fight. I like to fight. While I’m in there, it kinda sucks, getting kneed in the belly, kicked and punched; I think I blocked more punches with my face than actually my hand. But, uh, I like to fight and I’m not going to back down from any guy.
“Ryan Bader did a tremendous job tonight beating Rashad; I didn’t think he could do that. And obviously Jon Jones is Jon Jones – I think he’s the greatest fighter of all-time, and when he gets clear to fight, we’ll fight. But I’m not going to fight him in New York, so you guys can write that.”
Cormier elaborated further on the viewpoint, noting that Jones’ home state of New York is most likely the only place he wouldn’t be met with a judgmental backlash from his felony hit-and-run arrest in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earlier this year. According to the champ, that’s an advantage he’s simply unwilling to give the legendary Jones:
“It’s tough, but I just think that at the end of the day, when Jones gets reinstated, New York is the only place where he won’t be welcomed without like, just venomous anger. This is where he is from. So they will care for him, they will cheer him. Just as you take me to Lafayette, Louisiana, it doesn’t matter what I do they will cheer me. Why should I allow this guy and fight where he is comfortable? No, he needs to go somewhere where he has to look at people in the eyes, and hear the anger they have at him for the actions that he did.”
So Cormier is taking a hardline stance on his archrival’s return, and one can hardly blame him for trying to get every competitive advantage on Jones, the man whom many still feel is the one and only true UFC light heavyweight champion and No. 2- pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
The stage is also set for one of the biggest rematches in MMA history. Has Cormier bridged the gap enough to take a returning “Bones” to the limit in their second match?