UFC light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier and former champ Jon Jones share arguably the fiercest rivalry in MMA. Their rivalry began in the buildup to their first fight, which occurred back in January of 2015. On that night, Jones picked up a unanimous decision win, moving to 1-0 in his beef with Cormier.
“The first time he beat me, it was in the most important moments, in the fourth and fifth rounds,” Cormier told UFC.com of that first loss to Jones. “The fourth round was his most dominant round, and in the fifth round, he pretty much won on control, holding me and pushing me against the fence.”
“Because he got me in the championship rounds, I had to try to push my opponents to go even further, if they made it that long. I had to see if when faced with those types of scenarios again where it’s late in the fight and it’s a close fight, can I pull it out or am I going to fold like I did the first time? How do I stop him (Jones) from doing that to me a second time? I take the initiative and I become the person that’s pressing the fight in rounds four and five. That started from the moment him and I walked out of the Octagon. I had to make a commitment to doing more in the training room so that I do the same thing in the fight.”
“I’ve gotten more comfortable in this position and I’ve gotten more comfortable training for this type of fight. Every single time I train for one of these championship fights, it’s a learning experience in terms of preparing myself for the big one.”
Since their first fight, Jones has been stripped of the light heavyweight title, and Cormier has claimed it. These are the circumstances leading into the next chapter of their rivalry, which goes down this weekend in the main event of UFC 214.
According to Cormier, however, another Jones win would mean this isn’t actually much of a rivalry.
“I want to be done with him, but on my terms, when I’ve won a couple fights,” he said. “Right now, this is my rival, this is the person that beat me. So it immediately makes him stand out above everyone else. Jon’s been going on this whole thing how this is no different than any other fight and if that’s his approach, great. But I know there’s more to it. I will be honest and say, yes, this is the rival for me because this is the person that beat me. Now if I don’t win this fight, this is no rivalry. It’s just one guy that beat the other guy twice. You don’t consider those rivalries. Frazier and Ali was really good because Ali won two. I have to win.”
Do you think Daniel Cormier can move to 1-1 against Jon Jones this weekend?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/26/2017.