There’s always that one fight that a fighter didn’t get, or hasn’t got, or wants again that lingers in the back of his mind. It can consume a fighter, especially if it’s against a fighter that has his name etched in the history books as the lone loss on his record.
In short, it’s the one fight needed to write the final chapter.
UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier’s legacy won’t be complete without a win over former titleholder Jon Jones. The validity of his title will always be in question unless he, at some point, defeats the stripped champion.
Jones defeated Cormier at UFC 182 by unanimous decision in his record-setting eighth title defense. It ended up being his last. Jones was expected to defend his championship against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 on May 23, but was stripped of the belt on April 28 and suspended from the organization stemming from his alleged involvement in a felony hit-and-run incident. Cormier stepped in as his replacement against Johnson for the vacant title and defeated “Rumble” by rear-naked choke to capture the 205-pound belt.
The win over Cormier in January was Jones’ last appearance inside the Octagon. He’s expected to enter a plea deal when he appears in court on Sept. 29, but when or if he’ll return to fighting remains unclear.
“The division has changed a ton without Jones. No one can ever question what Jon Jones can do inside of an Octagon, but outside you have to have your life in order,” said Cormier about the former champion during a recent edition of The Takedown.
During the UFC’s “Go Big” press conference in Las Vegas on Sept. 4, Cormier said that he needed Jones to cement his place in UFC history.
“I truly believe that he’s the greatest fighter of all time and I believe that in order for me to really solidify myself, and my career to feel complete, I need to compete against that guy again, and not only compete against him, but win,” he said.
The last thing Cormier said before exiting the Octagon after defeating Johnson was directed at Jones. “I have a message for one man. Jon Jones, get your (expletive) together. I’m waiting for you,” he yelled into the microphone.
Don’t expect his calling out of Jones to stop anytime soon. Cormier hopes to entice the fallen champion back to the cage, if for nothing else, just to shut him up.
“I need to make him say, ‘I want to put Daniel Cormier in his place,’ so that he’ll come back. Even if it’s just for one night so he and I can share the Octagon again,” Cormier said.
Cormier isn’t fixated on a rematch with Jones, but he wants one. With Jones out of the picture, Cormier has contenders eyeing his belt.
“Until he (Jones) joins the party, he’s a distant memory,” said the 36-year-old. “It’ll also help the division to move forward with some new match-ups.”
Cormier puts his title on the line for the first time at the Toyota Center in Houston on Oct. 3 against Alexander Gustafsson in the UFC 192 main event.