In a wide-ranging interview with former pro wrestler and actor “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, including calling Jon Jones an a–hole, new UFC light heavyweight Daniel Cormier didn’t back off his stance that he’ll one day fight the UFC light heavyweight champion.
But Cormier, who later this month fights at 205 pounds for the first time after moving down from heavyweight, no longer necessarily believes he’ll be fighting Jones for his title.
Why? Cormier believes Jones may have to fight Alexander Gustafsson again – and he believes Gustafsson could walk away with the title.
Cormier (13-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) fights friend and fellow wrestling standout Rashad Evans (21-3-1 MMA, 14-3-1 UFC) on Feb. 22 at UFC 170, which takes place at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view. He’s more than a 2-to-1 favorite in his first fight at 205 pounds after a perfect 13-0 run at heavyweight that included winning Strikeforce’s heavyweight grand prix tournament.
Jones next up defends his title against Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in April. It will be his first defense since his UFC 165 fight against Gustafsson, a bout he won by unanimous decision, but one that sent him to the hospital battered and bloodied and, for all intents and purposes, beaten down like he never had been before, despite the win.
A win for Jones over Teixeira, and a win for Gustafsson over Jimi Manuwa in a month, and a rematch will be booked between Jones and Gustafsson. But the long-running beef between Cormier and Jones might not happen with gold on the line, Cormier said.
“If I get through Rashad Evans, I deserve that shot,” Cormier said on The Steven Austin Show. “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.”
Cormier said the first time he met Jones, their rivalry started. And it has built slowly over time – until starting to pick up steam when Cormier decided to drop from heavyweight to Jones’ home at light heavyweight.
“Sometimes two people just don’t get along, and that’s just how it is,” Cormier said. “We’ve never seen eye to eye, and it just doesn’t work out. I mean, the very first time I met the guy, he thought the only way to strike up conversation was to insult me. He’s just not very good socially, and that kind of led to that whole thing, but I can’t wait to get my hands on him.
“Jon and I will never be friends. We don’t talk to each other. We steer clear of each other because we know that when that cage door closes, the time that him and I are in there, then we’ll make some magic. Then it will be magic. When you watch me and Jon Jones stand across the cage from one another, it’s going to be magic. I can’t wait for that day.”
Cormier was cordial about his rivalry with Jones – with one exception: “We still don’t like Jon Jones. He’s an a–hole,” Cormier told Austin.
But when looking at his potential future adversary, Cormier said Jones’ first fight with Gustafsson may have hurt him in the long term.
“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’s a little bit of questions in his head.”
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