Jon Jones triumphed over Daniel Cormier when when the two squared off in January, but on Tuesday, Jones’ loss became Cormier’s gain.
With Jones stripped of his UFC light heavyweight title and suspended indefinitely for violating the organization’s code of conduct, Cormier was slotted into a fight for the now-vacant belt against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187.
During an interview with “UFC Tonight,” Cormier stated that he did not wish to kick Jones while he was down. Nonetheless, the part-time Fox Sports analyst did not hold back when asked about his feelings on Jones’ legal troubles.
“More than anything, I think all the stuff that Jon gets into is disappointing,” said Cormier. “This is a guy who has the world at his fingertips, and he can’t seem to get out of his own way.”
Cormier also had some words of advice for Jones, with whom he has shared a heated rivalry...
“Just get it together. Get it together, man. There are a lot of people that look up to you and a lot of people that actually want to see [you] succeed,” Cormier said. “Also, you know, I’ll be waiting on the other side with my championship, and he can actually challenge me for it.”
Cormier had been training for a June 6 fight against Ryan Bader, but the American Kickboxing Academy product said he began shifting his focus once it became apparent that a championship opportunity could present itself. “DC” apparently learned that he would be fighting Johnson at UFC 187 only moments before the matchup was announced to the public.
In Johnson, Cormier faces a fighter on the hottest streak of his career. The Blackzilians representative has displayed fearsome punching power in his last two outings, knocking out Alexander Gustafsson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in under three minutes combined. However, Cormier has not forgotten Johnson’s first UFC stint.
“It’s a tough fight. ‘Rumble’ Johnson’s a fantastic fighter. He has tremendous power, and he’s got a confidence about himself right now,” Cormier noted. “But I want to tell you guys right now, at the end of the day, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson is who he is. Anthony’s the guy that got submitted by Josh Koscheck. Anthony’s the guy that tapped out before Vitor Belfort had a choke in. At the core of him, he is who he is. I just have to go out and find that.”
Regardless of who emerges from UFC 187 with the light heavyweight title, their status as champion will no doubt be questioned as long as Jones remains away from the cage. When asked whether he believes he is fighting for the true UFC title, Cormier’s answer was diplomatic but decisive.
“I’m a realist. Jon was the champion, and he beat himself. Nobody beat him. I didn’t get the job done on Jan. 3. Jon Jones beat me,” Cormier said. “But, Jon did this to himself. The belt is not his anymore. So, yeah, it is the real championship. There is no interim tag. This is for the UFC light heavyweight championship.”