The rivalry between UFC legends Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones is one of the biggest in the promotion’s history and most intense. Following Cormier’s retirement from fighting in August 2020, the two seemed to bury the hatched, but Cormier says Jones still isn’t quite ready.
The two fought twice for the 205-pound championship with Jones defeating Cormier both times, but the second win was overturned to a no contest after Jones tested positive to a banned substance. The two were originally scheduled to fight for the first time at UFC 178 and during the press tour to promote the bout, Jones and Cormier got into a shoe-flying brawl on stage (see the video here).
“Did you see what happened after the fight (Jones’ return at UFC 285),” Cormier said in an interview with Henry Cejudo on Cejudo’s YouTube channel. “Everyone was acting like I was mad that he won. I was literally – so when he was finishing Ciyrl Gane, his back was to me. My reaction was the same reaction as Rogan, but because of our history it’s like, oh, DC is mad. And then he said, ‘You couldn’t even force a smile.’ That tells you that he’s ready, but he’s not quite ready. We don’t need to force him. He’s ready, but he’s not quite ready yet.”
No matter how ugly Jones and Cormer were to each other, despite the interviews threatening to kill each other, the families being mentioned and the brawl, during the worst times in their personal lives, they reached out to each other.
“We talked about each other’s families, but in the darkest moments, in the darkest moments; When his mother passed, when my father passed, he sent me a message. He really did, and even in that moment I appreciated it,” said Cormier.
“Even with all that we had been through, I appreciated that. For all that we had been through I appreciated him sending me that message as I sent the message for his mother because we understand what family is,” continued Cormier. “He did send me a message when my father passed and when my mother passed. He did. There’s good in that dude. There really is. There’s good in that dude. I just ain’t really had the opportunity to see it… But there is good in that dude, you gotta just got to be able to get to it.”
With Cormier retired and having a successful career in commentary, from his perspective the rivalry with Jones is over.
“We had a great rivalry, but that’s to bed now,” said Cormier. “I’m not a fighter. It’s to bed now. Like, I’m not a fighter. I don’t really hold no ill will towards him right now. I just don’t feel the need because what’s the point in it?”
Looking back on the fights with Jones and all the madness that surrounded them, Cormier and Jones made a lot of money together. They built each other’s popularity and were ultimately good for each other’s careers.
“I would not have much of what I have without him,” Cormier said. “He elevated my star to levels because our rivalry was so bad. It was so intense. It was so desired by people. People were rabid for me and Jones to the point that now, at 44-years old, people go, ‘DC, one more.’ I’m like, I’m 44-years old, but that is something that happens when something that matters lasts.”
“That is what happens when you give people something that they still pine for after all these years,” continued Cornier. “We had something special. We were business partners.”