Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones, who have both enjoyed reigns as UFC champions, are two of the most heated rivals in MMA history.
In the year 2020, however, their rivalry seems to be waning.
Speaking on a recent episode of Steve-O’s Wild Ride podcast, Jones discussed his relationship with Cormier, conceding that his long-time rival is an “outstanding man.”
“I respect D.C.,” Jones said (via MMA Fighting). “I think he’s an outstanding man. I think he represents himself very well. I think he represents African-Americans very well. He represents the UFC very well. Being a father, being an athlete, he’s very well spoken, he’s a great commentator.”
In a more recent interview with MMA Fighting, Cormier responded to this comment from Jones, admitting that he respects him, but adding that they will likely never be friends.
“The reality is when you’re in the octagon — this guy I was in the octagon with over 40 minutes — if you can’t respect a person in that capacity when you’re done with them, then who can you respect?” Cormier said of Jones. “I do respect Jones in terms of what he does as an athlete, what he’s been able to do and all those things.
“The reality is like you said, it doesn’t have to be a friendship and it won’t be.”
Cormier went on to clarify that the main thing he respects about Jones is his ability in the Octagon.
“I do respect him as a competitor. I never said I didn’t. That’s where it gets all confused when they talk about this thing between him and I. I never not respected him as a competitor. It was all the other stuff I had a problem with.
“I never did that. If you’re an honest guy, which I try to think I am, you tell the truth. You can respect a person for their skills. I do respect those skills.”
Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones have fought twice previously. In their first meeting, Jones won by decision. In their second, Jones knocked Cormier out, but the result was overturned when he failed a drug test.
Are you surprised to hear the pair saying nice things about one another?