Daniel Cormier will never be Jon Jones’ biggest fan but he will openly admit that the reigning light heavyweight champion is one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time.
Cormier has gone to battle with Jones on two previous occasions and if timing and opportunity work out, he would welcome a third fight against him in the future. Cormier is a former light heavyweight champion and the only fighter in UFC history to hold both the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles simultaneously.
That said, Cormier is solely focused on heavyweight right now and Jones is just over a week away from his light heavyweight title defense against Anthony Smith at UFC 235.
Heading into that fight, Jones is an overwhelming favorite with the odds definitely on his side to retain the championship against an upstart contender in Smith, who tore through two former champions and a former title contender to earn his spot in the title bout.
As talented as Smith has been since moving to 205 pounds, Cormier still doesn’t see a way he walks away with the championship considering the unmatched arsenal of weapons that Jones has at his disposal at all times.
“Anthony Smith is a great guy but being a great guy doesn’t win you fights,” Cormier told MMAWeekly when asked about the matchup. “I think he loses to Jones. He won that Volkan [Oezdemir] fight but to struggle that much, it’s very difficult for me because it’s going to make me say something that sounds negative about these guys but I’ve been in there with Volkan and I know that although he’s a good martial artist, there are just holes in the game that make the fight not that hard or as hard as some other fights are.
“He struggled mightily with the man and that was enough to tell me he was going to struggle when he got to the best light heavyweights and now he’s facing the best light heavyweight. I think he’s going to have a tough time.”
When examining the rest of the current crop of contenders at the top of the light heavyweight division, Cormier still doesn’t eyeball anybody who he sees really challenging Jones right now.
Cormier does see potential in a pair of fast rising light heavyweights who are both making a name for themselves while working up the rankings but nobody at the top of the division who could touch Jones at the moment.
“The only person at the weight class to challenge him is me but there’s the young kid from Brazil [Johnny Walker], who over time could be tough. Dominick Reyes, with time he’ll be real good,” Cormier said.
At the time he was champion, Cormier had virtually eliminated all of his toughest challengers and Jones has done the same through his past body of work as well as his recent knockout in his rematch against Alexander Gustafsson to win the title again this past December.
That’s why Cormier truly believes he stands beside Jones as the two best light heavyweight fighters in the sport and it’s going to take a lot for anybody to topple either one of them.
“Outside of [Alexander] Gustafsson, everybody else I finished on my title reign. I finished Volkan [Oezdemir], I finished “Rumble” [Anthony Johnson] twice. I finished everybody,” Cormier said. “I just think that we’re competing on a different level than a lot of these other dudes.
“And I don’t like saying that because it sounds like I’m disrespecting these guys but I feel like we’re competing on a different level than these other guys.”