COMMENTARY | Former Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier hasn't been afraid to voice his dislike for current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones nor his desire to fight the young phenom.
While Cormier is optimistic he'll get his wish, he doesn't expect Jones to be champ when they finally meet in the Octagon.
Instead, the former NCAA Division I All-American and Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion thinks Alexander Gustafsson will take Jones' belt before he can. But that doesn't mean Cormier isn't looking forward to addressing his beef with "Bones."
"If I get through Rashad Evans, I deserve that shot," Cormier told "Stone Cold" Steve Austin on The Steven Austin Show (via MMAJunkie.com). "But there's no hype, there's no fight-building, there's just 100-percent truth. One day, he and I will settle that. But I don't even know if it'll be for the belt because if Gustafsson gets his hands back on him, I'm not so sure he can go through that again."
Jones (19-1-0, nine KO/TKOs) and Gustafsson (15-2-0, nine KO/TKOs) squared off in an epic five-rounder at UFC 165 in September 2013. "Bones" retained the belt after a hotly contested decision victory, which many people believed "The Mauler" won.
It's because of that fight and the fact that Gustafsson is potentially a win away from a rematch that Cormier doesn't have much hope for a title shot against Jones.
"I think the effects of that fight are taking a bigger toll on Jon Jones than it did on Alexander Gustafsson," he said. "Gustafsson was right away ready to get back in the cage with him. Jon said, 'Nope, I'm going to fight somebody else.' So Gustafsson moved on to the next man and then scheduled a fight, whereas Jon had three scheduled, and they had to reschedule them because I think [there are] questions in his head."
Cormier (13-0-0, five KO/TKOs), who is currently ranked No. 4 in the UFC's heavyweight rankings, has discussed dropping to 205 pounds -- and fighting Jones -- for some time.
He also joins the ranks of potential challengers who believe Jones' fight with Gustafsson took a heavy toll on the champ.
In January, light heavyweight contender Phil Davis told MMAJunkie he thought "Bones" was scared to get back in the Octagon after Gustafsson "put tips all over that boy."
However, Cormier's speculation assumes two major things: First, that Jones will beat Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in April, and second, that Gustafsson will defeat knockout artist Jimi Manuwa at UFC Fight Night 37 in March.
Neither are sure bets, but both should be exciting fights.
Meanwhile, Cormier is set to fight Rashad Evans at UFC 170 on Feb. 22 in Las Vegas. It is his first foray into the UFC's light heavyweight division.
As for Cormier's opinion of Jones?
It remains unchanged.
"We still don't like Jon Jones. He's an a-hole," he said.
Paul Putignano lives in Southern California, where he has covered mixed martial arts and a wide array of sports across the Greater Los Angeles area. His work has been published in a variety of newspapers and online publications.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Jon Jones
- Daniel Cormier
- Alexander Gustafsson
- Rashad Evans