Let's be honest, neither Daniel Cormier nor Jon Jones look like your typical model athlete. One is too small and a bit chubby for the weight class, the other one long and lanky. However, both men captured UFC gold, Cormier has been captain of the US Olympic Wrestling Team, and Jones is still considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
So why change anything?
UFC champion Cormier asked himself the same question when he got wind that Jones is starting to pack on some serious muscle and power, by implementing heavy weight training into his preparation for the first time in his career.
"Maybe he feels that by getting stronger, it's going to make him a better fighter," Cormier told Ariel Helwani on Modnay's episode of the MMA Hour (transcription via MMAFighting.com). "The reality is, when I saw him getting so bulky, as a competitor, I thought, 'Wow, this isn't bad for me.' This isn't bad for me as a competitor, because the Jon Jones that was kind of skinny and maybe wasn't the bulkiest guy, it all worked, Helwani. It all worked. His body, the way his body was, it worked."
"It allowed him for range; it allowed him for optimal speed. It allowed him for quickness and agility. Looking at all the extra bulk, to me I was like, 'Well, maybe this will slow him down. Maybe he won't be the fastest guy. Maybe this guy is messing with what was given to him.' In reality, what has been given to him is perfect."
Cormier speculated that Jones' new-found love for heavy-weight training could in fact be some kind of substitution for his past drug addiction, one that the former champion recently revealed in a lengthy interview.
"Jon said before he had some issues with alcohol and drugs," Cormier said. "You have to replace that stuff with something and it seems as though his addiction is now weightlifting. And it's not bad. You replace it with something else. Something that can help you."
While lifting weights does without a doubt sound better than taking drugs, Cormier still feels that Jones is going down the wrong route on his way to a comeback next year.
The 28-year old 205-pounder got suspended and stripped of his title in April, after a felony hit-and-run incident involving a pregnant women and a marijuana pipe. The UFC reinstated him in October. He hinted a comeback on April 23 2016 at a potential event in Madison Square Garden, New York. Daniel Cormier would very likely be the opponent. Both men already fought in January of this year, with Cormier losing a unanimous decision.
"Now he's gotten bigger," Cormier said. "For me as a competitor, I thought, 'Wow. You start messing with the recipe -- the recipe that's actually really, really good -- maybe this opens up the door for some of his competitors.'"
Jon Jones has since responded.
Trust that I'm surrounded by professionals, we are not naïve https://t.co/6Y0mFbnPhS— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) December 2, 2015
DC tries to get me double guessing my physical strength but fails to mention how he's going to deal with my mental— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) December 2, 2015