Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier is easily one of the most heated and intense rivalries in recent MMA history. So much so that things have gotten personal between the two elite fighters.
But if you ask “Bones” these days, it’s all part of the past.
I know you probably won’t believe me but at the end of the day I think of DC the same way I think of all my other past opponents. Was just a past opponent. Once we get the knuckle sandwiches out of the way, there’s really nothing to be mad about anymore https://t.co/pTG7yzu6r2— BONY (@JonnyBones) July 3, 2022
“DC,” however, isn’t ready to let things go just yet. In his recent guest appearance on the Pivot Podcast, he explained why.
“Why would he (be mad)? He was the one who cheated. He was the one that was doing the wrong stuff. Not me. So it’s easy for him to say ‘Oh, ‘we’re past that.’ He cheated, he won the fights,” Cormier said.
“Even though they say it’s a No Contest, (everyone) saw me lose. All he gets is time. Jon Jones even then was making $5 million (per fight).
“So Jon Jones, in 2017, fights me in Anaheim, wins the fight, gets that ‘And new champion…’ from beating me. They found out he tested positive for steroids. They say ‘Oh, he’s suspended for 18 months.’
“Now, you get 18 months. You still got your money. And you’re still only 25 years old. I was 37/38 years old. You get a year off? It’s horrible, but it’s easy for him to say water under the bridge. But for me, it’s like, man. You did some stuff to my career that never let me settle. Because now I don’t know.”
Cormier had always shown respect for Jon Jones, the fighter. And being fully aware of the level of talent he was dealing with at the time, Jones’ indiscretions continue to baffle him.
“The dude’s so talented, he could’ve won the fights, anyway,” Cormier said of Jones. “The first time we fought, 2015, that was seven years ago. I was 36 years old. Dude was like 24. Young man. Tall, got all the physical gifts. He beats me. Gets suspended for the first thing.
“Next time, steroids. Failed. Next time, steroids, failed. It’s like every time we fight, and you get suspended, if we go through the interaction and you win the fight, that memory does not disappear.
“I can know through the fights that maybe this dude was just better than me. But I also know that if you’re not doing the things that aren’t boosting you, can you really work to the level that I’m working? I always work so hard. And I’m old.”
Cormier believes it would’ve been a different result if he had the chance to fight Jones as a younger man.
“Some days, when I was prepping for this dude, I was actually crawling up my stairs to get to bed. Because my body was so beaten down, I’m a 38-year-old man. (He’s) 27. If I fought him at 27 when you could just pop out of bed, I’m like, ’Shit, it’s easy.’
“I can’t let it go. It does (still haunt me).”
Cormier did win the light heavyweight title in Jones’ absence and then the heavyweight title afterward to become the UFC’s second-double champion. Early this month, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov.