Bitter Rival Daniel Cormier Reacts to Jon Jones’ UFC Return

Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones

Getty Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones

Former heavyweight and light heavyweight UFC champion Daniel Cormier gave his take on Jon Jones’ impending Octagon return.

Considering their talent and vitriol for each other, Jones and “DC” are two of the most prominent rivals in UFC history. They battled twice at light heavyweight with “Bones” taking both wins in 2015 and 2017 — his second victory would later be overturned into a no-contest after Jones tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Jones is scheduled to make his heavyweight debut opposite Ciryl Gane on March 4 at UFC 285. They’ll compete for the vacant heavyweight strap, the belt Francis Ngannou recently dropped to become a free agent.

By the time Jones steps into the cage, three years will have passed since his final 205-pound title defense. Bones had been linked to Ngannou to fight for the belt, but because “The Predator” is no longer on the roster, Jones will battle Gane — the last man to fight Ngannou.

DC Said Gane’s Movement Will Cause Trouble for Jones

Cormier, who retired from the sport in 2020, took to his YouTube channel to react to the news of Bones’ return. And DC sees Jones vs. Gane as a “better matchup for us as fans” than Jones vs. Ngannou.

“I honestly believe this matchup is a much better matchup for us as fans, because technically you have two guys that are going to be as skilled as we have ever seen in the heavyweight division,” Cormier said (h/t MMA Junkie). “This is coming from me, a guy that has fought in the heavyweight division, has held the championship, that fought some of the best in the world.

“Ciryl Gane’s movements and the way he attacks is going to make him very difficult for Jones. Because as good as Jones is, Jones isn’t a guy that moves very much. He’s very stationary and going forward. He’s long, so he uses those long-range weapons to really take control of guys like me and other guys he fought in the Octagon. But he’s not a guy that moves around and creates a ton of angles. A lot of straight and long-range weapons. … The issue with Ciryl Gane is you’re going to have a bigger guy that possesses a lot of those same qualities with the ability to move.”

Cormier Gives ‘Advice’ to Jones, Tells Him to Develop ‘Thick Skin’

Cormier shared some “advice” for his rival, telling him to develop “thick skin” to help combat those who discredit his heavyweight title reign – should he win gold – because he didn’t fight and defeat Ngannou. It’s similar to when Cormier became the light heavyweight champion. He earned the vacant title after Jones was stripped of it in 2015.

During his run as light heavyweight king, Cormier constantly dealt with fight fans who said his title reign wasn’t legitimate because he hadn’t beaten Jones.

“Isn’t it ironic that Jon Jones is fighting for a vacant championship?” Cormier stated. “Do you guys remember what I went through when I won the (vacant) belt? Now it’s different. Jon hasn’t fought Francis before, but isn’t it ironic that he’s in this situation now? My advice to you, Jon, is get thick skin, because people will be unrelenting. Right now, because Francis left, it’s almost like Francis avoided Jones. That’s not true.

“Francis would’ve fought Jon Jones on any day of the week. Let’s not get crazy, fans. Fans always come up with these ideas, but trust me: Jones, it’s going to flip to, ‘Is he the real champion, because he didn’t beat Francis Ngannou?’ if he wins that fight against Ciryl Gane. Which is not guaranteed, because Ciryl Gane is as good as they come.”

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