Daniel Cormier: Jon Jones is not afraid, this is a public negotiation

Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier
Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier

Despite the ill will between them, Daniel Cormier does not doubt rival Jon Jones when it comes to him wanting to fight newly minted UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.

On the most recent episode of the “DC & Helwani” podcast, Cormier gave his thoughts on the potential of a heavyweight title matchup between Jones and Ngannou.

At the UFC 260 post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White cast doubt on whether Jones actually wanted the fight after posting a tweet saying “Show me the money,” believing he said that as a potential scapegoat to avoid a fight with the heavyweight champion.

Jones fired back with several tweets denying that claim, saying he just wants to be paid what he believes he is worth.

Despite their bitter rivalry, Cormier came to Jones’ defense.

“Jon Jones, for everything that’s between us, is not afraid of Francis Ngannou,” Cormier said. “He’s not afraid bro. I understand that most people would be afraid. But guess who else wasn’t afraid? Stipe Miocic, and Derrick Lewis, and Cyril Gane. Those guys aren’t afraid.”

Jon Jones and Dana White are conducting a public negotiation

DC instead believes that these are negotiation tactics between the UFC and Jones.

“Here’s where you start to play the game if you’re Dana and Jones. Jones wants his money, Dana has to show that he has options,” Cormier said. “That’s all that’s happening, right? High level negotiations is what’s going on right now.”

Cormier also discussed whether the pound for pound king truly believes that he is capable of defeating the new UFC heavyweight champ.

“Make no mistake about it, Jones believes that he will beat Francis Ngannou. As any great champion would believe that they would beat him,” Cormier said. “Now, is that the case? I don’t know. But Jon Jones is one of the most talented guys that I’ve ever seen inside the octagon. And if you have to find someone that can piece together a way to solve that puzzle, it’s Jon Jones. Let’s not be crazy here.”

Cormier also referred to prior instances where other high-profile fighters negotiated with the UFC in the public eye.

“Jon Jones feels he’s defending himself against his name. The reality is they’re just negotiating in public,” Cormier said. “We’ve seen this with Conor [McGregor], we’ve seen this with other fighters in the past. I believe [the fight] happens. I really do.”

Cormier also understands Jones’ desire to make more money.

“Jones has defended his title so many times. So I would imagine that he’s had pay bumps. He now wants his biggest pay bump, and you know what man? Hats off to him. Go get paid, because this is gonna be a massive fight for him and the UFC. But if not? If the UFC doesn’t want to pay him, they’ll just move on to the next guy.”

Jon Jones at the UFC 135 weigh-ins
Jon Jones

Daniel Cormier believes Jones can beat Ngannou

Looking more toward the potential matchup rather than the negotiation fallout of this potential superfight, Cormier thinks that Jones has a significant chance to defeat Ngannou.

“If Jones can fight his fight, he could potentially pick Francis apart from the outside. He’s that type of guy,” Cormier said. “He’s a smart fighter. He knows how to maneuver and manage fights.”

Although Cormier thinks Jones has a solid chance, DC also referred to the power disparity between Bones and Ngannou.

“I don’t know if he’ll be able to hit Francis hard enough to keep Francis off of him for five rounds in terms of Francis trying to find the knockout,” Cormier said. “The one thing we all forget about with Francis, dude’s got a granite chin. He can take a shot. That right hand that Stipe hit him with was hard, and he got stunned. But then he, five seconds later, lands a knockout to end the fight.”

While it may be fun for fans and pundits alike to ponder the potential matchup from a technical standpoint, the MMA community may be a bit ahead of themselves.

In his most recent tweets, Jones has requested his release. The no. 1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world is considerably disgruntled with the UFC’s valuation of his worth.

Hopefully this potential superfight can be made with both sides happy with the financial aspect of the bout. But until that is figured out, it may be a little too early to assume Jones will unquestionably be Ngannou’s opponent for his first title defense.

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