As he left the Octagon at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night, Jones turned to face Cormier, who was working as a guest analyst for the main event, and flashed him a brand of sign language popularized by Jackson-Wink MMA teammate Donald Cerrone.
According to Jones, flipping the bird at Cormier was simply his way of getting the promotional machine started for their inevitable rematch.
“I gave Daniel the finger leaving the Octagon. It felt great to do it,” Jones said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “It creates buzz. It gets people ready for the fight. Me and DC don’t like each other. He’s been in my sights the whole. time. We had a minor bump in the road and we had to take a little detour. It was more for fun, to get a reaction from the fans and restart this storyline with me and DC.”
The animosity between Jones and Cormier dates back to a media event in the summer of 2014, when the two light heavyweight brawled following a face-off at the MGM Grand. The venue was the same at UFC 197, but there was no further drama following Jones’ not-so-friendly gesture. Of course, there will be plenty of time for that once they have a date and venue for their second bout.
“It’s exciting when you fight someone you don’t like and they don’t like you,” Jones said. “You want to keep that going. I wanted to give him the finger to keep it going. Just to get under his skin and keep the fans excited.”
The most popular date for their rematch seems to be UFC 200, especially after Conor McGregor and the promotion couldn’t reach a compromise that would allow him to compete against Nate Diaz in the originally scheduled headliner. All that’s left for Jones-Cormier 2 to fill that void is doctor’s clearance for the current champ, because Jones says he plans on being back in the gym in a matter of days. There was an initial scare when word got out that Jones was in a wheelchair backstage after his bout with St. Preux, but “Bones” cleared that up on the press conference dais.
“I feel great enough to fight at UFC 200 for sure,” Jones said. “My shins were swollen. My left foot was swollen. When my adrenaline came down I felt some serious pain. I got in a wheelchair to make it easier on myself. I know by Wednesday I’ll be totally fine getting back in the gym getting ready for Daniel Cormier.”
Jones was far from satisfied with what transpired in the Octagon at UFC 197, and that sentiment also included the hardware he earned for besting St. Preux. In his mind, the interim belt is a poor substitute for the real thing.
“It’s cool and all. It’s nice and shiny. I look at myself as a true champion. I lost the belt. And I’m on a journey to get it back,” he said. “This belt here, it makes me feel good. I took some pictures with it, but there’s no real satisfaction. There’s no real touchdown moment. We’re right back to the drawing board. It’s kind of made up. It’s kind of fake.”