Daniel Cormier knows that his name will forever be attached to Jon Jones.
Not only was their rivalry one of the most heated in the history of the UFC but Jones and Cormier have arguably separated themselves as the two greatest light heavyweights to ever compete in the sport.
Unfortunately, Cormier came up short against Jones on two occasions and despite a positive drug test erasing the second defeat on the record books, the reigning light heavyweight champion still views that as a loss despite the fact that the title is wrapped around his waist today.
Rather than taking shots at Jones for cheating or his continued issues outside the cage, Cormier prefers to accept defeat and do his best to move forward with his career because that’s all he can do. While Jones remains on suspension awaiting the outcome of a pending case with USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency), Cormier has a fight against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220 and that’s all he can worry about right now.
“That’s my cross to bear,” Cormier said about his losses to Jones. “I didn’t get the job done. If I would have won those fights and it wouldn’t have mattered all of his out of the Octagon issues. Because I lost, I’ve got to carry that burden. That’s for me to carry. I can’t look to escape that and I’m not trying to.
“All I do is try to make that motivate me to be better today than I was July 29 and April 10 when I fought Anthony [Johnson] and every other day I fought.”
Of course none of what’s happening is Cormier’s fault considering he was handed the light heavyweight title from the UFC after Jones was stripped following their fight being overturned to a no contest.
Cormier didn’t want to lose to Jones any more than he wanted the former champion to test positive for steroids but now he’s just got to play the cards he’s been dealt.
As much as Cormier isn’t trying to forget the past with Jones, he knows the best way to move forward is by beating Oezdemir convincingly to not only wash the bad taste of defeat from his mouth but to remind everybody why he is the light heavyweight champion.
“My career is so closely tied to those fights that I do need to win in dominant fashion,” Cormier explained. “More so this time than what happened in the last fight but my goal is always to go out and dominate and that’s what I’ve done for the vast majority of my career.
“Nothing’s really changed. The only pressure comes from what I put on myself because of the way the last fight ended.”
While there will undoubtedly be talk about Jones from now until after the fight, Cormier promises that he’s only thinking about his longtime rival when the questions are raised to him.
When the microphones are silenced and the cameras are turned off, Cormier is only thinking about one thing and that’s defending his title against Oezdemir on Jan. 20.
“I don’t really worry too much about anything but the person that’s in front of me,” Cormier said. “Volkan Oezdemir, I respect enough to focus on him entirely. I respect enough to focus entirely on him and him be my obsession. I’m obsessed with this young man right now. Obsessed with coming up with a game plan and a fight strategy to go out there and beat him convincingly.
“I don’t worry too much about Jones right now. He’s ineligible as he was for the last couple of years before the last fight.”