Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier were initially slated to have their highly anticipated rematch at UFC 197 on April 23rd in what was Jones’ first fight back in the Octagon since being stripped of his light heavyweight championship.
Cormier pulled out of the fight with a knee injury, and was ultimately replaced by Ovince St-Preux on short notice. The fight became an interim light heavyweight championship fight, with the winner set to face Daniel Cormier for the undisputed light heavyweight championship.
Jones defeated Saint Preux via unanimous decision, although it was a lackluster one. Jones chalked it up to the late opponent change, however ahead of UFC 200, Cormier believes that Jones’ lackluster fight was the result of partying aging him.
He spoke on the UFC 200 media conference call:
“He’ll be tough, he’ll always be tough,” Cormier said during a Thursday conference call. “He’s a good fighter. But, you know, nothing’s free. Nothing’s free. So, the Jon that showed up against Ovince Saint Preux is the guy who’s going to be in the Octagon on July 9.”
“All the partying, all the other stuff, you have to pay for that, and now we’re seeing where, it’s starting to take a toll. It’s time for all the outlandish living and burning the candle at two ends, and now we’re getting to the middle where it starts to burn out. So that’s who he is today. He’s not the guy from before. He may be 28 years old, but in reality, he’s lived on this earth much longer with the long nights and all the other stuff he’s done.”
“I’ve been here longer, in age I’m 37, but I haven’t burnt it at both ends and become a middle-aged man at 28 years old,” Cormier said. “That’s you today. You’re that slow guy that was in the Octagon on April 23d that looked like garbage.”