Jones Won’t Fight Cormier at Heavyweight

With all the insults thrown between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier over the past week, one might think those two were headlining UFC 232 with a trilogy bout.

Cormier, the UFC heavyweight champion, relinquished his claim on the light heavyweight title yesterday, opting to surrender the title rather than have it taken from him the moment Jones’ bout with Alexander Gustafsson starts. Cormier is looking to end his career early next year with one last fight. While Brock Lesnar has been the targeted opponent since an altercation after Cormier won the title at UFC 226, many have clamored for Jones vs. Cormier III.

But despite teases of a move to heavyweight of his own, including rumors of his own fight with Lesnar, Jones claims if Cormier wants a third fight, he’ll have to move back down to 205.

“It’s up to Daniel Cormier to challenge me to get his belt back,” Jones said at the UFC 232 weigh-in show. “I heard that he ended up relinquishing his belt, and I think that’s a good look. But at the end of the day, I know most people know that he never was the champion. Hats off to him for being the heavyweight champion of the world, but I’ve been the light heavyweight champion since 2011. That’s just facts. That’s just facts.

The belt was given to him. He has not beaten me. So, he can cancel all doubts by challenging me and really being a legit champ champ.

Jones and Cormier originally faced off at UFC 182 back in January 2015, with Jones winning by unanimous decision to give Cormier his first loss as a pro. Months later, however, Jones would be involved in a hit-and-run incident, forcing the UFC to strip him of the light heavyweight title. Cormier would win the title in May 2015 at UFC 187 against Anthony Johnson and defend it once against Alexander Gustafsson before a scheduled rematch with Jones. Jones won the interim title at UFC 197 after the bout was postponed due to an injury to Cormier, but the two were set to square off in the main event of UFC 200.

However, days before the July 2016 event, Jones failed a drug test, was stripped of the interim title and removed from the card. Cormier went on to defeat Anderson Silva in a non-title fight before defeating Johnson a second time at UFC 210. Jones and Cormier’s rematch eventually happened at UFC 214, with Jones winning by knockout and recapturing the title. But Jones’ title win was overturned to a No Contest, and the title returned to Cormier, after yet another failed drug test.

Cormier, after another successful defense of the 205-pound title, defeated Stipe Miocic last July for the heavyweight title. He then became the first two-division champion in UFC history to retain a title when he defeated Derrick Lewis in a heavyweight title bout last month at UFC 230.

Cormier is 15-0 as an MMA heavyweight, which made Jones reiterate that Cormier has to come down to 205 to chase Jones.

“He looks good at heavyweight. He’s designed to be a heavyweight. He’s comfortable there. He naturally goes to heavyweight between every fight,” Jones said. “That is his spot, and like I said, he makes a great heavyweight champion. Even before fighting me, he was on a tear at heavyweight. That’s his zone. I have no reason to challenge him at heavyweight, because for me it’s not personal.

When he comes down to light heavyweight, it’ll be personal again. And he can have what he has, I’ll have what I have, and that’s being the most dominant light heavyweight champion, the only light heavyweight champion since 2011.

Original Story: MMA Fighting

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