Daniel Cormier recently said that a trilogy fight with Jon Jones at 205 pounds is ”all I want.” If Cormier truly does want to face his rival one more time before retirement, it appears as though it will have to be at light heavyweight – because Jones isn’t moving up a division.
Jones defeated Cormier via unanimous decision in their first meeting at UFC 182 in January 2015, and he stopped “DC” via technical knockout in their rematch at UFC 214 – but that victory was overturned to a no contest when the Jackson-Wink MMA product failed a USADA drug test. Despite Cormier’s claims, Jones doesn’t expect to see the reigning heavyweight champion fighting at light heavyweight again before he calls it a career.
“He says it, but there’s no way he’s coming back to light heavyweight,” Jones told Dan Hardy in an interview for BT Sport. “To commit your life to lose that type of weight and to come up short again would be so devastating. It would take an incredible amount of courage to attempt it and to come up short would just be so devastating. I doubt he would put himself through that for the third time.”
“Bones” acknowledges that it would probably be even more devastating for Cormier to relinquish the heavyweight crown in a trilogy bout. However, Jones realizes that facing the American Kickboxing Academy stalwart in a larger weight class would be a risky proposition.
“But me coming up short, I’m a realist,” Jones said. “Daniel Cormier is a special athlete and everyone can be beat. I think my greatest chance of losing would be to a guy like Daniel Cormier, with giving him a power and strength advantage over me, it just doesn’t make sense.
“Right now, I make light heavyweight very easily and it just wouldn’t make no sense to fight a guy who I think technically [is] on your level, and to give him a size advantage, I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. I’m sure my fans don’t like to hear me talk like that, but that’s just me being a realist and being respectful to Daniel’s abilities.”
While Cormier initially hoped to retire by his 40th birthday in March, circumstances have changed, and he will now defend the heavyweight title in a rematch against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 on Aug. 17. Cormier knocked out Miocic in the opening frame at UFC 226 to briefly become a simultaneous two-division champion.
Despite their differences, Jones respects Cormier’s abilities. With that in mind, he favors his rival in the return date against Miocic – although he does think the bout will look a little bit different.
“I think Stipe will put up a better fight, but I do think DC will win again,” Jones said. “DC’s an extraordinary athlete. His flexibility and his speed for the way he’s built doesn’t really make sense. Even his endurance, the way he’s built, he’s a special athlete. I don’t think most guys would beat DC. I think the way you beat DC is just to catch him with a knockout shot, which Stipe has the power to do. The question is can he land it?”
What happens after that? Jones envisions retirement or another heavyweight title defense, but he is fairly confident that Cormier is done making the weight cut to 205 pounds.
“I think DC’s smart and he’s going to use his wrestling and wit to find a way to win again. And then he’ll retire or fight at heavyweight again. He’s definitely never coming back to light heavyweight.”