Two weeks have passed since Jon Jones recaptured the UFC light heavyweight title from Daniel Cormier at UFC 214. Cormier, who was overcome with emotion following his knockout loss to Jones, had not spoken to the media since the event… until Monday.
Losing the belt, especially to such a contentious rival as Jones, certainly didn’t sit well with Cormier, but he admitted on The MMA Hour on Monday that he hasn’t even gotten to the point yet where he can watch the fight footage and figure out what went wrong.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” stated the former champion “You’ve got to remember, I’m a guy who wants to be the best. I train hard, I work hard, and I feel like I was ready to go. I feel like I was prepared, and I was very disappointed in the result of the fight. But as I’ve looked back on it, I was upset, but I think a lot of the sadness came from — I feel like my coaches, I felt like they had done such a tremendous job of preparing me for this particular event, and for me to not be able to get the job done, that’s where I think a lot of my sadness came from.”
Cormier went on to discuss what the loss did to him mentally and emotionally.
“Obviously, I was disappointed with the fight,” said Cormier, “but I felt bad for the people closest to me, because I felt like they had invested so much and had done so much to prepare me, and I was ready to go.”
The Washington native has confirmed he has not yet watched the fight. Currently on his honeymoon in the Bahamas, Cormier said he doesn’t feel that he is emotionally ready to analyze what happened. He also mentioned he has about 10 minutes of no recollection spanning from the end of the fight until the aftermath in the backstage area, likely due to the result of a concussion which was clear in his post-fight interview. He stated that he was told by friends and coaches that the bout was competitive up until the point of the knockout.
The former Strikeforce heavyweight champion revealed that in the aftermath of the bout, he has received a monumental amount of support.
“It’s meant a ton,” Cormier said. “Every day, I get hundreds of messages of people saying, ‘Hey, we miss you. DC, come back. What’s going on? Are you okay?’ And I think what matters the most is not the people saying, ‘Come back and fight, we want to see you fight again.’ It’s the people who just genuinely seem to be concerned for your well-being. ‘How are you? Are you okay? How are you doing? I hope you’re fine, and we’re worried about you.
“It’s stuff like that which matters, that there are a lot of people in this game that truly do care, and you don’t necessarily anticipate that, especially after these last couple years, the way that it’s been,” Cormier continued. “But I think people show their true selves when they already know someone is down and they want to try to help you rebuild yourself. It’s a great feeling.”
Though he’s getting up in age for a professional athlete, the 38-year-old former Olympian reiterated his desire to compete. He confirmed that he is likely to sit out the remainder of 2017, as he plans to heal and consider what his options are.
“Why would I stop fighting?” Cormier said. “I feel like I still love the competition more than anything. That’s really what’s driving me. When I don’t have competition, I’m not in something like that, I’m miserable. I love to compete. I love to be in the environment. Not only am I going to fight again, but I do believe that Jon Jones and I will fight again.
“So, of course I have a desire to fight, and I believe that him and I will compete again before it’s all said and done. I don’t know exactly what path leads back to a fight with Jones, but I anticipate he’ll be the champion.”
Although he’s now lost twice to Jones, Cormier knows he’s still one of the top 205-pound fighters in the world.
“I don’t believe anyone else in this division can compete with me. So after I win enough fights, I believe that we’ll fight again. Also, we make money together, and when you make money together, the UFC is usually pretty open to making those matches.”
Cormier confirmed that the UFC have already reached out to him to discuss potential options. The idea of a return to the heavyweight division was put on the table, a division in which Cormier was 13-0 across Strikeforce and UFC.
“I really shrunk myself from heavyweight,” Cormier said. “I used to have big old traps and I was a bigger guy when I fought at heavyweight, but I’d entertain anything. The UFC values me and, honestly, they’ve already reached out with some ideas about me fighting, and I was like, ‘well, I need time,’ but there are options at heavyweight and options at 205.
“Obviously, the Jimi Manuwa fight is a fight that could happen. Volkan Oezdemir has done fantastic for himself, a guy that’s a cool guy, but if the easiest path back to fighting the fights that I want is to go through somebody like that, then I’ll do it. So it’s a matter of just what I decide to do,” he continued.
“At this point, I’ve kind of gotten to a point in my career where the UFC, they really are very open to a lot of my suggestions. This last two-and-a-half years, since I fought Jones the first time through now, I’ve headlined cards, there were cards I was supposed to headline or had marquee fights on, I’ve sold millions and millions of pay-per-views, and with that comes some respect within the organization.”