UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is on a break… but stripped former champ Jon Jones says that’s okay, his desire to return to the Octagon will not dissipate if it takes a while before the two step in the cage together again.
After defeating Cormier, Jones was slated to fight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, but the champ landed in hot water for causing an automobile accident and fleeing the scene. The UFC suspended him and stripped him of his belt. Jones pleaded guilty to felony hit-and-run, for which he received a sentence of 18 months on probation and was required to make 72 appearances with various youth groups and at schools.
Meanwhile, Cormier was enlisted in Jones’ absence to face Johnson for the vacant belt. Cormier won that fight and then defended his belt in early October against Alexander Gustafsson.
While Jones’ plea agreement leaves him untethered and allowed to return to the Octagon, the UFC currently has a third party investigating Jones’ case and has yet to reinstate him, although he is expected to receive an immediate title shot upon his eventual return.
RELATED VIDEO > Jon Jones Pleads Guilty to Felony Hit-and-Run, Avoids Jail Time
But the UFC and it’s investigative team are welcome to take their time, according to Cormier, who said that after fighting three tough fights in a nine-month span, he needs a break.
“I have no idea (when Jones is going to fight again). All I know is that I’m taking a break,” Cormier said on a recent Jon Anik and Kenny Florian podcast. “In 2015, I fought Jones, I fought Rumble Johnson, and I fought Alexander Gustafsson.
“So I need a little bit of a break. I fought seven times in two years in the UFC. So I’m gonna take a little break. I think I’ve earned it.”
That appears to sit well with Jones, who still hasn’t been reinstated, but that’s not to say he’s going to wait quietly in the shadows. He has been slowly easing his way back into the public eye since agreeing to a plea bargain on Sept. 29 in New Mexico.
Jones and Cormier recently traded barbs on Twitter, sparring over their potential rematch:
Take as much time as you want, the fire inside of me won’t be dying down anytime soon. #AndStill
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) October 20, 2015
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 20, 2015
Until Jones is reinstated by the UFC, the timing of their fight is a moot point. If the UFC is successful in its bid to hold an event at Madison Square Garden in New York in April, that would likely be the primary target for Jones vs. Cormier II, but it could just as easily be pushed back to UFC 200 in July if the promotion’s New York attempt is nullified.