Two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier has established himself as one of MMA’s all-time greats, but you can’t tell the whole story of his career without noting his rivalry with Jon Jones, who beat him twice, only to have the rematch result flipped to a no contest due to a drug test failure.
Cormier intends to retire in March 2019, when he turns 40 years of age, and Brock Lesnar appears to be the man he’s targeting for his finale. As for a Jones trilogy, regardless of weight class? He told Ariel Helwani on Monday that it’s no longer necessary.
“I don’t need [the Jones fight] anymore,” Cormier said (via ESPN). “Sometimes you need things and sometimes you don’t. ... I’ve come to terms with everything. Because he was gone so much, I had to remove myself from the situation so completely that it almost became not reality.”
The rivalry between Jones and DC has been fierce, complicated, and controversial.
Cormier lost by unanimous decision to Jones at UFC 182, marking his first loss in his MMA career. Jones was found to have tested positive for cocaine in the lead-up to the fight, and then was stripped of the belt a few months later after a hit-and-run incident. That opened the door up for Cormier to win the vacant light heavyweight belt vs. Anthony Johnson at UFC 187, but the Jones rematch for UFC 197 was delayed due to a Cormier injury, then Jones failed a USADA drug test when the bout was rescheduled for UFC 200. Jones served a one-year suspension, and when the rematch finally happened at UFC 214 in July 2017, Cormier was KO’d in the third-round, but that’s no longer in the record books as a Jones win.
Jones was able to get a substantially reduced USADA suspension to just 15 months, and he’s lined up to return against Alexander Gustafsson for the light heavyweight title, which will be taken away from Cormier once Jones and Gustafsson are in the cage and their fight starts.
This seems to be a mutual feeling between the two over a possible trilogy, as Jones recently told ESPN that he didn’t need a third fight with Cormier, citing the two previous outcomes, and that “I don’t need to fight him again to be considered one of the all-time greats.”