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People will remember I was ‘proven innocent’ - Jon Jones responds to DC’s GOAT comments

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Daniel Cormier recently said that Jon Jones’ drug test failures eliminated him ‘from the conversation’ of greatest of all time. Unsurprisingly, Jones has a bone to pick with that interpretation.

Given their history, it’s no surprise that Daniel Cormier doesn’t have a lot of interest in throwing Jon Jones into the conversation of MMA’s all-time greats. DC and ‘Bones’ fought twice during Cormier’s 11-year MMA career, each time in contest for the UFC light heavyweight title. Their animosity surrounding those matchups created one of the sports’ longest running feuds. None of which was helped by Jones’ struggles with the law and with regulating bodies alongside his MMA career.

Jones failed a drug test for cocaine (something he shouldn’t even have been tested for, and a fact the UFC didn’t make public until after their fight) a month ahead of his first bout with Cormier. Eventually, Jones would be fined $25,000 by the UFC for violating their Athlete Code of Conduct policy, and spend one night in rehab. Just a few months following the bout – which saw the Jackson-Wink fighter take a clear win on all three judges scorecards – Jones would be stripped of his title for his involvement in a hit & run accident that left a pregnant woman with a broken arm.

It would take two years for the men to meet again, this time with Cormier holding the title belt, and Jones coming off a one-year suspension due to a failed drug test for clomiphene and letrozole—stripping him of the UFC’s interim light heavyweight title in the process, and causing the last minute cancellation of a planned rematch between he and DC, set to headline UFC 200. Jones would later claim that that drug test failure was the result of tainted “dick pills.”

When they finally did fight again, Jones dominated Cormier even more thoroughly than he had the first time, knocking the longtime AKA talent out with a head kick midway through the third round. He then failed a drug test for turinabol and was immediately stripped of the light heavyweight title once more. Alongside their bitter rivalry, those issues have Cormier feeling quite strongly that Jones shouldn’t be part of the discussion when it comes to MMA GOATs.

“One of the most talented guys you’ll ever meet but again for me bad [drug] tests eliminate you from the conversation,” Cormier said in a recent interview with MMA Fighting. “I just cannot understand how that is so hard to comprehend in a sport where we’re fighting each other. In baseball, bad tests eliminate you from being considered and being in the Hall of Fame and you’re hitting a ball. You’re hitting an object that has no feeling. In fighting, you’re punching people, human beings, and you have bad tests that eliminates you. It’s just too dangerous.

“So I think when you start to think about the greatest of all time for all the things and all the great victories, you can’t look at those, me personally being a guy that those fights did really long term damage to my career, it’s hard for me to say [Jon Jones] is the greatest of all time when every time we fought, there was some sort of issue. That for me, it just kind of changes the conversation.”

Cormier went on to throw Anderson Silva into the conversation as well, explaining that his standard goes “for anyone, even Anderson [Silva]. Anderson was the man. Bad tests, I don’t care if it’s for viagra, it does not matter. It’s a bad test.” DC beat the ‘Spider’ by unanimous decision back at UFC 200 in the bout that had been meant to feature Jones’ bid for title unification. In 2015, Silva failed a USADA drug test for androsterone and drostanolone, which he also claimed was the result of off brand sexual enhancement medication. In 2017 Silva was hit by a second failed drug test, which USADA later traced back to tainted supplements.

“It sucks, too, cause they’re so immensely talented,” Cormier said. “So talented that I don’t think any of those guys ever needed to do anything wrong and would have been clean. Like Khabib’s clean. Nobody has heard or suggested or thought that he’s done anything negatively outside of missing weight when he was on his way up. Those are the things that he is going to have to deal with in terms of negatively. Demetrious Johnson is actually completely clean. No missed weights, no failed tests, he’s just clean.

“Those are the types of guys you look at and say ‘that guy’s the greatest fighter of all-time.’”

If that’s the track DC is taking – and his reasoning behind it – however, Jon Jones has his own interpretation. Most notably that, given USADA’s standard of “guilty until proven innocent” it’s nearly impossible for a high profile fighter like him to shake the tag of a failed drug test—even when there are other explanations besides cheating. That’s all complicated by the fact that Jones’ second drug test failure seemed to be caused by long term ‘plusing’ effects of an earlier, undetected ingestion of banned substances.

Of course, being Jones, he also had one extra dig for the former UFC-double champion, who retired from MMA off a failed bid to recapture the heavyweight title belt against Stipe Miocic just back in August at UFC 252.