Light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier puts his title on the line for the second time in the UFC 210 main event in a rematch against Anthony Johnson on April 8. While another win over the dangerous Johnson would be impressive, Cormier says his legacy as a champion rests with an eventual rematch with former champion Jon Jones.
Cormier lost to Jones by decision at UFC 182 in January 2015. Jones was scheduled to face Johnson at UFC 187 in May 2015, but was pulled from the fight card, stripped of the title, and suspended indefinitely after his involvement in a felony hit-and-run incident three weeks before the event. Cormier stepped in and captured the vacant title by submitting Johnson via rear-naked choke in the third round.
Jones returned to the Octagon at UFC 197 in April 2016, defeating Ovince Saint Preux to become the interim light heavyweight champion.
A rematch with Cormier was set for UFC 200. The title unification bout fell through when Jones was notified of an anti-doping violation three days before the event. He was stripped of the interim title and former middleweight champion Anderson Silva stepped in to face Cormier in a non-title fight.
Cormier wants to go down as one of the greatest to step inside the cage. He’s looking to solidify that legacy, but another win over Johnson won’t quite put him there.
“I think beating ‘Rumble’ again, it will help (my legacy). But ultimately it will come down to my rivalry with Jones,” said Cormier during the UFC 210 media conference call.
“We’re talking about a rivalry against a fighter that may be considered the greatest of all time. Wins over guys like Jon Jones is what’s probably really going to solidify where I want to sit when I retire from the sport,” he said. “Ultimately (my legacy) will depend on the rivalry with Jones.”
Jones is expected to return later this year. While the UFC 210 main event is for the 205-pound title, it’s also to get a shot at fighting Jones.