“DC” met Jon Jones in a long-awaited rematch in the July pay-per-view main event with his light heavyweight championship on the line. Two and a half years after losing to Jones, who was the champ at the time, Cormier lost to the Jackson-Wink MMA fighter again — this time by brutal third-round knockout. The rivalry likely ended, and not in the way Cormier envisioned.
The former champ posted a statement on social media the day after his second pro MMA loss, but besides that, he’d been silent since the Jones rematch up until now.
Cormier, in his first public interview since the July 29 fight, discussed the disappointing defeat and how he has dealt with it on Monday’s The MMA Hour.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” Cormier told Ariel Helwani (transcription via MMAFighting.com). “You’ve got to remember: I’m a guy who wants to be the best. I train hard, I work hard, and I feel like I was ready to go. I feel like I was prepared, and I was very disappointed in the result of the fight. But as I’ve looked back on it, I was upset, but I think a lot of the sadness came from — I feel like my coaches, I felt like they had done such a tremendous job of preparing me for this particular event, and for me to not be able to get the job done, that’s where I think a lot of my sadness came from.
“Obviously I was disappointed with the fight, but I felt bad for the people closest to me, because I felt like they had invested so much and had done so much to prepare me, and I was ready to go.”
Cormier, who has yet to watch the fight, doesn’t remember much of the fight and what happened afterwards — including his crushing post-fight interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan — so his recollection of it is mostly going by what he’s been told by people close to him and what he’s seen on social media. Cormier added that the positive messages he’s received has been overwhelming.
Many fans speculated that UFC 214 could be the end of Cormier, particularly if he lost, but according to the man himself, it wasn’t. He has no plans to retire, but does intend on sitting out until 2018 to recover and spend time with his family.
“Why would I stop fighting?” he said. “I feel like I still love the competition more than anything. That’s really what’s driving me. When I don’t have competition, I’m not in something like that, I’m miserable. I love to compete. I love to be in the environment.”
Though Cormier suggested in his UFC 214 post-fight interview there was “no rivalry” with Jones after all because he lost both fights, the 38-year-old expects he will find himself locking eyes with the 205-pound champ in the cage again in the future.
“I don’t know exactly what path leads back to a fight with Jones, but I anticipate he’ll be the champion. And I don’t believe anyone else in this division can compete with me,” he said. “So, after I win enough fights, I believe that we’ll fight again. Also, we make money together, and when you make money together, the UFC is usually pretty open to making those matches.”
Cormier has already started to weigh his options and entertain certain fights the UFC has discussed. Unsure what his next move will exactly be, Cormier is open to anything, including staying at 205 pounds or returning to the heavyweight division.
“The UFC values me and honestly, they’ve already reached out with some ideas about me fighting, and I was like, ‘Well, I need time,’ but there are options at heavyweight and options at 205. Obviously the Jimi Manuwa fight is a fight that could happen. Volkan Oezdemir has done fantastic for himself, a guy that’s a cool guy, but if the easiest path back to fighting the fights that I want is to go through somebody like that, then I’ll do it. So it’s a matter of just what I decide to do.
“At this point, I’ve kinda gotten to a point in my career where the UFC, they really are very open to a lot of my suggestions. This last two and a half years since I fought Jones the first time through now, I’ve headlined cards, there were cards I was supposed to headline or had marquee fights on, I’ve sold millions and millions of pay-per-views, and with that comes some respect within the organization.”