Daniel Cormier will defend his UFC light heavyweight championship against Jon Jones at UFC 200 in Las Vegas on July 9. This marks the second meeting between the two fighters, but to call this a rematch would be a bit of a misnomer.
“This thing has been going on for two years now,” Cormier said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “The first time we were scheduled to fight was in July 2014 and Jon got hurt. So that fight got delayed to January (2015), and in January, he beat me (by unanimous decision at UFC 182). In April, he lost in life, and then I won the belt. Then I fought again for the belt in October right as he was getting reinstated (and won the light heavyweight championship against Alexander Gustafsson). Then we were scheduled to fight in April (2016 at UFC 197), and – As the World Turns and The Young and the Restless – the soap opera of Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier goes to UFC 200.”
Cormier (17-1) and Jones (22-1) are two of the best fighters in the world. They’re also two of the biggest rivals in the sport.
“Every press conference, there’s always an almost-brawl,” Cormier said. “There are a lot of almost-fights in this world, but whenever Jon and I get into an almost-fight, it’s really an almost-fight. We did fight in the MGM one time. We almost got into a fight in the hallway at the MGM. We almost got into a fight at a press conference. We’ve had a lot of situations where we usually try to fight each other. I’ve been waiting to get another shot since last January, and now we get to fight again.”
Cormier, at 5-11 and 37 years old, is giving up five inches and nine years to the 6-4, 28-year-old Jones, but he is confident he can win – even though Jones hasn’t lost since 2009.
“He’s a great fighter,” Cormier said of Jones. “As much as I don’t like the guy, he’s a great fighter. But there are some things in Jon that allows you to feel confident going into the rematch. One is that he can’t punch. At the end of the day, you got to be able to punch to stop somebody from chasing you. He can kick very hard, he can knee very hard and he throws good elbows, but he can’t punch.”
Nevertheless, Jones is about a 3-to-1 favorite to win.
“He beat me last time, so he should be the favorite,” Cormier said. “But – and I hate using this example because Luke Rockhold is one of my best friends in the world – but as Michael Bisping said, every fight’s different.”
Bisping beat Rockhold with a first-round KO at UFC 199 on June 4, this after losing via submission to Rockhold in Sydney, Australia, in November 2014.
“I mean, I didn’t expect that,” Cormier said of Bisping’s KO, “but every fight’s different. Jon’s going to see that. This is a different fighter standing in front of him. Him getting suspended and allowing me to fight Anthony Rumble Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson in championship fights, it’s made me so much better than I was. Before, I was just getting down to that weight class. I was up at heavyweight. So I’m adapting now. I’m ready to go. . . . I keep my belt. I’m telling you, man: I’m so confident going into this fight.”