Cormier vs. Jones: 5 rounds of trash talk between UFC enemies

Dana White, center, stands between Daniel Cormier, left, and Jon Jones. (John Locher/AP)
Dana White, center, stands between Daniel Cormier, left, and Jon Jones. (John Locher/AP)

It’s hard to believe the rivalry between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier was born almost 100 UFC events ago, yet the two have faced off only one time since.

That will change Saturday when Jones and Cormier enter the Octagon at UFC 214 in Anaheim for their highly-anticipated rematch, two and a half years after their first bout.

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Unlike the trash-talking spectacle of the summer between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor, the hatred between these two fighters is very real. That was on display again Wednesday when the two faced off at the UFC 214 press conference.

The animosity between these two is well known at this point, but it’s still highly entertaining, if not a little played out. Regardless, when two of the top fighters in the UFC spend years bickering in front of a camera and degrading each other on social media, people are going to tune in. And in this case, judge.

Jones has the bragging rights in the Octagon, and that’s really all that matters, but what about the deeply personal war of words? Below is a round-by-round breakdown of their trash talk over the years, but first a brief recap of how we got here.

The beef apparently began in 2010 when Jones and Cormier met backstage at UFC 121. The gist: Jones introduced himself to Cormier, implied he didn’t know who he was and made a comment in jest that he could take Cormier down. Cormier, an Olympic wrestler, felt disrespected. Jones and Cormier would later give their own accounts of the infamous encounter, which you can read here and here.

Warning: The following contains NSFW language

Round 1: Rivalry takes off

Jones landed the first significant strike in May of 2013 after Cormier — then the Strikeforce heavyweight champ — challenged him to a fight.

A few months later, Jones followed it up with this devastating combo: 

It was a masterclass in trolling by Jones and Cormier fell right into his trap. Cormier countered by toeing the high road while also throwing shots at Jones’ “Iowa Community College education” and calling him “petty” and “childish.” 

Jones got in a couple more shots in over the next several months, including a fat joke in October …

And another subtle one in March 2014 on MMA’s Great Debate Radio after Cormier respectfully pleaded for a title shot:

“First and foremost, since you’re speaking more respectfully, I’ll say congratulations on your victory and your weight loss. But as far as giving you a title shot, I have no interest in fighting you right now, only because of the fact that you really haven’t fought anyone that I consider a top-level fighter.”

Cormier was eventually granted his wish in July when Alexander Gustafsson suffered a knee injury, setting the table for their first clash in September at UFC 178.

There was some immediate back-and-forth after the announcement, with Cormier trying to step up his game:

That was all pretty tame in light of what was yet to come starting in August.

Round 1 scorecard: 10-9, Jones

Round 2: ‘Brawl at the Mall’

This is where things get fun, or embarrassing, depending on where you sit on all this.

The “Brawl at the Mall” triggered a furious few days of aggressive twitter fingers and all-time great sound bites.

Jones clearly got the best of Cormier in the direct aftermath on Twitter:

Both fighters would appear on Fox Sports Live Uncut the following day:

We’ll give this one to Cormier. The smug look on his face seemed to work on Jones, who sounded uncharacteristically angry.

Things continued the following day at a UFC 178 Q&A, where Jones got in the best line of the night:

“I’m going to make him my wife. You’re going to be Mrs. Jones for the night. I’m going to rub on that big ol’ belly and you’re going to like it.”

Cormier would regroup from that later in the month, cutting up Jones with this throwback shot:

Then there was this legendary exchange:

Jones throws out pretty basic insults, but it’s the stoic, monotone delivery that makes it so effective. He also gets bonus points for instigating the whole thing. Cormier gets a little flustered, but definitely gets in some good shots of his own. 

Jones suffered a leg injury in August, forcing the fight to be postponed until January, and despite the extra time to squabble both fighters pulled back in the lead-up to their eventual clash.

Round 2 scorecard: 10-9, Jones

Round 3: The fight is on

It was finally time for the two to settle their differences in the cage, but not without a few more shots first.

Jones hit him with a few more jokes about his weight and accomplishments …

These guys won't stop!!! This just happened in the fighter meeting and this NEVER happens. #UFC182 #ufc

A post shared by Dana White (@danawhite) on Jan 2, 2015 at 4:59pm PST

And then went on to beat him in the octagon, earning an impressive unanimous decision victory. That gave him significant leverage in the trash-talking business going forward, and he didn’t waste any time.

He hit him with the crotch chop after the bell rang and told FS1 after the fight “I don’t like Daniel Cormier, I don’t respect Daniel Cormier, I hope he’s somewhere crying right now and I’m sure he is.”

Turns out Jones was right. Damn.

Not long after defending his title against Cormier, things fell apart for Jones. He tested positive for cocaine metabolites days after his fight and briefly checked himself into a drug-treatment facility. In April, he was arrested for a hit-and-run and shortly after was stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely by the UFC.

Jones went off the radar after his arrest, while Cormier took his place against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 in May, where he won the vacated light-heavyweight title. After the fight, Cormier had one thing to say: “Jon Jones, get your [expletive] together I’m waiting for you.”

That was the closest thing to trash talk there would be for a while as Cormier repeatedly answered with class when asked about Jones’ troubles until he was reinstated in October.

Then things popped off again.

In late October, the two got into a silly Twitter spat about fighting each other on their respective home turfs.

Cormier finally “went there” and hit Jones with this zinger:

That turned into this exchange the following day, with each fighter getting in some good shots:

Cormier’s initial shot was good, but credit Jones for the Carlton Banks burn. That’s quality stuff right there.

Jones would taunt him some more in January:

Hope this doesn't get me blocked by the champ

A post shared by Jon Bones Jones (@jonnybones) on Jan 4, 2016 at 2:23pm PST

Cormier’s response was a little underwhelming:

This was clearly an embarrassing stretch of time for Jones, but he still managed to get the better of Cormier in the trash-talking department. But we’re going to deduct a point from Jones for his legal troubles and Cormier’s decision not to stomp on him when he was down. 

Round 3 scorecard: 9-9, draw

Round 4: Grudge match

The highly-anticipated rematch was announced in early February, with the bout set to take place in April at UFC 197, setting off a new round of verbal fireworks. 

First up: A battle of memes:

A post shared by Jon Bones Jones (@jonnybones) on Feb 23, 2016 at 11:17am PST

Jones then tweeted and later deleted a post using Cormier’s meme with the following caption: “The look he made when he realized I failed a drug test and still managed to beat him at his best.”

Things continued to ramp up when the two attended a UFC Unstoppable press conference in early March:

Cormier’s strategy of trying to expose fans to the “real Jon Jones” didn’t go over well, while Jones played to the crowd with a familiar low-brow chirp.

Things took another unexpected turn on the first day of April, when it was announced Cormier was forced to withdraw from the fight due to an injury.

When Jones questioned whether Cormier was really “injured” and called him an “absolute coward” for offering to help train his replacement, Ovince Saint Preux, Cormier went off:

Jones of course had something to say in response, but this one clearly favors Cormier.

Nearly two months later, Cormier took another swing but Jones crushed him with his response:

Cormier continued to take shots at the “new Jon Jones” in the days leading up to UFC 200, once again calling him out for his performance against Saint Preux during the UFC 200 conference call:

“The Jon that showed up against Ovince Saint Preux is the guy that is going be in the octagon on July 9. That is who he is. Nothing’s free, so all the partying and other stuff, you have to pay for that. And now, we’re seeing him where it’s time to pay the costs. He’s paying for all the outlandish living and burning that candle at two ends, and now we’re getting to the middle where it starts to die out.”

A few days later at the UFC 200 press conference, Jones hit back at Cormier by calling him “drawn out looking” and adding “I beat him in the prime of my partying.”

Round 4 scorecard: 10-9, Jones

Round 5: The long road to UFC 214

Three days before their scheduled fight at UFC 200, it was announced Jones failed an out-of-competition drug test. It was a shocking revelation and another unexpected twist in this never-ending drama.

Jones was suspended for one year in November following an arbitration ruling, but was cleared of intentionally ingesting a banned substance. He was eligible to return in July 2017.

Cormier took the high road in the immediate aftermath of the failed test, but that wouldn’t last long.

In October, ahead of his scheduled fight against Anthony “Rumble” in December, Cormier called Jones irrelevant because “he’s not fighting anymore.”

Jones shot back on Twitter:

Cormier admitted shortly after that he was done thinking about Jones, turning his focus to his title defense against Johnson. An injury to Cormier in November forced the bout to be rescheduled for UFC 210 in April. And that’s where things picked up again between Cormier and Jones.

At weigh-ins for UFC 210, Cormier was involved in a controversy for using a towel to allegedly make weight after he initially came in 1.2 pounds over the 205-pound limit.

Jones took the opportunity to pounce on Cormier, calling him “very dishonest” and saying his trick was one of the dirtiest things he’s seen in sport.

After beating Johnson to defend his title, Cormier responded to Jones’ comments in the post-fight press conference:

“It’s like you sit there, and you take a table, and you put a bunch of kitchen appliances. At the end of one side there’s a pot. Then on the other side there’s a kettle. And that pot starts yelling, ‘You’re dirty’ while he’s sitting there with a steroid needle. That’s my opinion on that. You sit over there pot with your Cialis or whatever that [expletive] is called. And you throw it at the kettle. So get over there, sit over there pot in detention. Cialis boy.”

Jones got him good with this comeback, even though it wasn’t his own doing.

No caption needed

A post shared by Jon Bones Jones (@jonnybones) on Apr 12, 2017 at 6:54pm PDT

That led to the following Twitter beef (advantage, Cormier):

Cormier continued his assault on The MMA Hour, taking a page from Jones’ book and making fun of his “Bambi legs,” his “bad haircut” and saying he “looks like [expletive].”

Finally, it appears Cormier is starting to figure out this whole trash-talk thing.

On May 12, the UFC announced the long-awaited rematch between these two would go down at UFC 214 in Anaheim on July 29. Later that evening, things heated up again between the two light heavyweights at the UFC Summer Kickoff event.

The two clashed before the event even started, culminating with Cormier throwing his water bottle at Jones. This wasn’t so much trash talk as it was one guy repeatedly yelling “don’t mention my kids” at the other, but close enough.

The action really picked up once the event started. It was verbal warfare at its finest, with each fighter busting out their best hits. Cormier was clearly fired up after after the backstage incident and didn’t hold back when attacking Jones:

Cormier threw the heavier shots, including the classic “sandblasting prostitutes” line, but Jones wasn’t fazed. Instead, he made a smooth transition: “Cocaine one, your ass the next,” Jones said about the “great” back-to-back weekends he had leading up to the first fight.

Both guys got the TMZ treatment in the past few months, with Cormier once again running down Jones’ rap sheet.

A new flurry of activity occurred in early June when Cormier once again criticized Jones for doping, saying that this fight will be different if Jones is clean.

With the fight less than a month away things predictably ramped up in July, starting with this nice reminder from Cormier.

Jones wasn’t impressed:

And he really went off a little while later:


Cormier tried to goad him into another verbal sparring session, throwing jab after jab, but Jones didn’t take the bait.

In one of the final appearances ahead of Saturday’s showdown, Jones showed a slight crack in his armor and admitted that Cormier’s steroid accusations were starting to get to him and that he didn’t need to “[expletive] on guys” to make himself look better.

Wednesday’s press conference also provided some more gold from the venomous combatants.

The best moment came when Jones commented on Cormier’s gaunt appearance, saying he looked like a crack head with a suit on. Cormier, now a seasoned pro in trash talk, hit right back by saying, “I could look like a crack head with a suit on, but I’ve never been a crack head like you, though.” Boom, roasted.

Jones got in some good shots of his own, too, but Cormier’s clearly got the biggest reaction of the day.

Round 5 scorecard: 10-9, Cormier

Winner: Jon Jones (48-46)

And there you have it. Cormier took some time to get his legs under him, but he eventually got comfortable throwing Jones’ ugly past back in his face, which seemed to work at times. It was just a little too late against a natural trash-talker/troll extraordinaire like Jones.

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