Daniel Cormier doesn’t believe UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones should win the 2023 ESPY award for best MMA fighter

By Susan Cox - June 28, 2023

Daniel Cormier doesn’t believe UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones should win the 2023 ESPY award for best MMA fighter.

Daniel Cormier

Jon Jones (27-1 MMA) has been nominated for the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly award along with other notables including lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, welterweight champion Leon Edwards, and recently retired dual champion Amanda Nunes.

‘Bones’, 35, recently returned to the Octagon after a three-year absence to face Ciryl Gane (11-2 MMA) at UFC 285. The result was Jones capturing the vacant heavyweight belt after a submission victory of Gane at 2:04 of round 1.

Speaking on his ‘DC & RC’ ESPN show, Cormier explained why he doesn’t feel Jones is deserving of the award:

“I just don’t know if one fight in the year against Ciryl Gane puts you in that position. And that’s no knock on Ciryl. It was just one fight. You gotta think of the storylines that follow these other athletes. From Makhachev beating ‘Do Bronx’ (Oliveira) to win the belt, from Makhachev beating Alexander Volkanovski.”

Continuing Daniel Cormier said (h/t MMAJunkie):

“Then you look at Amanda losing her belt to Julianna (Peña) and then winning it back. Then Leon Edwards doing what he did. Jon Jones is in there because Jon Jones is the biggest star. He’s the biggest star that’s holding a championship right now outside of Israel Adesanya. That’s why he’s in there. What’s crazy about it is, he might win it because of him being the biggest star of the people in there.”

Elaborating, the 44-year-old commentator said:

“I think Jones needed one more performance to find himself in the running for an ESPY. The storyline just doesn’t add up.”

Daniel Cormier himself won the ESPY for best MMA fighter back in 2019.

It should be noted that Jones has also been nominated for the ESPY comeback of the year award. Cormier has no issue with Jones receiving that honor saying:

“I agree with that: Jon Jones best comeback athlete, yes. I’m all in on that. Three years away, comes back and becomes the heavyweight champion of the world, absolutely, yes.”

Do you agree with Daniel Cormier that Jon Jones falls a bit short in deserving of the ESPY MMA best fighter award for 2023?

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