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Jon Jones refuses to fight Daniel Cormier at heavyweight: ‘I have no reason to challenge him’

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“That’s his zone. I have no reason to challenge him at heavyweight, because for me it’s not personal.”

It almost seems inevitable that Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will meet in the Octagon for a third time. But, speaking to the media ahead of his highly anticipated rematch against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, ‘Bones’ stated that ‘DC’ will have to move back down to the light heavyweight division if he wants to avenge his losses.

“It’s up to Daniel Cormier to challenge me to get his belt back,” Jones said Friday, per MMA Fighting Newswire. “I heard that he ended up relinquishing his belt, and I think that’s a good look. But at the end of the day, I know most people know that he never was the champion. Hats off to him for being the heavyweight champion of the world, but I’ve been the light heavyweight champion since 2011. That’s just facts. That’s just facts. The belt was given to him. He has not beaten me. So, he can cancel all doubts by challenging me and really being a legit champ champ.”

Cormier, a former Olympic wrestler, moved up to the heavyweight division earlier this year to challenge Stipe Miocic for the championship. The American Kickboxing Academy standout knocked out Miocic in the first round to become the UFC’s first ever simultaneous light heavyweight and heavyweight titleholder.

Yesterday, however, on the eve of Jones vs. Gustafsson II, Cormier voluntarily relinquished his light heavyweight title before the UFC had the chance to strip him, which means the Louisianan is no longer the ‘champ champ.’

Jones, who has teased of a move up to heavyweight to fight WWE superstar Brock Lesnar, has no interest in challenging Cormier for the heavyweight strap. The 31-year-old told reporters that heavyweight is Cormier’s ‘zone’ and that, despite their ongoing rivalry, Jones has nothing personal against Cormier.

“Nah, no,” Jones said about the possibility of challenging Cormier at heavyweight. “He looks good at heavyweight. He’s designed to be a heavyweight. He’s comfortable there. He naturally goes to heavyweight between every fight. That is his spot, and like I said, he makes a great heavyweight champion. Even before fighting me, he was on a tear at heavyweight. That’s his zone. I have no reason to challenge him at heavyweight, because for me it’s not personal.

“When he comes down to light heavyweight, it’ll be personal again. And he can have what he has, I’ll have what I have, and that’s being the most dominant light heavyweight champion, the only light heavyweight champion since 2011.”

Jones holds two wins over Cormier, but the latter win at UFC 214 was overturned to a No Contest after Jones tested positive for steroids. Jones recently failed another drug test and his light heavyweight rematch against Gustafsson was relocated from Las Vegas to California after the Nevada State Athletic Commission refused to sanction the fight.

UFC 232, which features Jones vs. Gustafsson II as the main event, takes place later today, Dec. 29 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.