Infotainment Factory: Cormier's searing new shot in Jones UFC feud

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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Cormier's searing new shot in Jones UFC feud


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When Daniel Cormier goes to sleep, nightmares of Jon Jones have been replaced by dreams that cannot be taken away.

That happens when you become a double champion by claiming the UFC heavyweight title, and with it the mantle of 'The Baddest Man on the Planet'.

Cormier (22-1-0, 1 NC) defends his belt on Sunday (AEST) against the man from whom he took it: Stipe Miocic (18-3-0), victim of a round one KO in the first fight.

Watching on will be Jones, the light-heavyweight champion has been touted to rise to heavyweight and challenge his nemesis in a trilogy fight. Miocic could be Cormier's final opponent if a third Jones fight never eventuates.

And, provided he wins at UFC 241 in Anaheim, he would be content with that. With or without a win over Jones, his legacy as an all-time great is assured.

"Everything I have done speaks for itself. I've done things I never could have imagined, so if it was over, it's over. I could sleep well at night," Cormier, 40, told Wide World of Sports, while offering a far different take on Jones' career.

By his reckoning, Jones' legacy went back to zero when he again popped for drugs.

"Any time you have performance enhancers tied to your legacy, it's almost restarted. Everything is scratched, man. You can't have that stuff tied to what you've done. It's just so horrible," Cormier said.

"You can't do performance enhancers. You cannot have a failed test. Some guys say stuff like, 'I've only failed one test'. I'm like, 'You can't have any'.

"You should do things the right way. Compete clean and leave no questions as to who you are and how you did it.

"Everything's on my terms at this point. Whether I fight him again, whether I don't fight him again. If I choose at 205 (pounds) or at heavyweight. It doesn't matter – it's all going to be done by the rules that I set, whether him and I fight going forward."

Cormier-Jones has been arguably the most explosive rivalry in UFC history.

Before you even get to PEDs, there is the wild brawl at their face-off for UFC 178, followed by Jones threatening to "literally kill" Cormier while off air during an ESPN interview. Cormier told Jones during that exchange: "You're the f---ing scum of the earth. You're a terrible human being."

Jones won that first match, which ultimately happened at UFC 182 due to Jones withdrawing from UFC 178 with a leg injury. After retaining his light-heavyweight title via unanimous decision, Jones entered rehab three days later; it was revealed he'd tested positive for cocaine before the fight.

Jones popped for two banned substances – Clomiphene and Letrozole – before UFC 200, meaning his unification bout with Cormier was scrapped. Cormier had claimed the title after it was stripped from Jones over a hit-and-run incident involving a pregnant woman.

Jones then beat Cormier by round three knockout at UFC 214 (also in Anaheim), yet tested positive beforehand to a steroid, Turinabol. He was stripped of the belt again and Cormier elevated to champion; which he remained until he relinquished the strap after becoming heavyweight king. Now, Jones rules again at 205 pounds, reclaiming the vacant title last December against Alexander Gustafsson.

Jones is Cormier's only conqueror; UFC 182 remains his only official loss. He does not intend to take another in the Miocic rematch and is wary of leaving the sport before age makes him vulnerable.

He made the blunt admission that at his age, that could happen mid-fight this weekend.

"I could win this fight, take another fight and as soon as I get to training be like, 'Ahh! I don't feel good – it's over'. Or I could be in the Octagon on Saturday and things could just not feel the same, and I'll be like, 'It's over'," he said.

"I think when you're my age, you've gotta just to take it day by day, fight by fight and just work as hard as you can. And having the strength to walk away while you can still compete.

"I've done this so long, so much wear and tear on my body; but when I walk away from this thing, I'm still going to be able to compete with the best in the world. I'm going to have to have the mental capacity and the strength to walk away from fame, money, all this other stuff, knowing that I could still compete with those guys."

One thing is for sure: he is better prepared for this fight than for his first title defence. At UFC 230, he beat Derrick Lewis by round two submission on less than a month's notice.

"I feel great. I've trained hard, my body feels great. I haven't felt this good in a long time," Cormier said.

"Maybe it's because I'm gauging it against how I felt in November, after a two-and-a-half-week training camp. I walked into Madison Square Garden very unsure of how I would hold up going into that fight. But now I've had 12 weeks and I feel phenomenal."

'DC' is not tipping another early knockout. Miocic had some claims as the best heavyweight of all time before he was stopped by his fellow American at UFC 226 last year. He had impressively conquered the heavyweight division's rising freak, Francis Ngannou. The Cleveland fireman remains a beast.

"I think this one is much more difficult," Cormier said.

"I believe that him and his coaches, who are phenomenal coaches, will have made the adjustments that they need to make in order to make it a much more competitive fight. It was a very competitive fight right up until the knockout, so what I anticipate is being in there for a hard, long fight. But ultimately, I believe that I still get my hand raised.

"If he underestimated my punching power, it's a little bit his fault. We're fighting at heavyweight and at heavyweight, anybody can knock anybody out. It only takes the right shot."

https://twitter.com/dc_mma/status/1161692523359682560?s=20

Cormier, a former Olympic wrestler, may be primarily remembered for his exploits at 205 pounds, but should be regarded as a great heavyweight. He has never lost a round in the highest weight class, making his ascent as UFC champion less surprising than it may have seemed.

"I think people respect all that I do. I think they respect what I've done at light-heavyweight and heavyweight. I think they respect my career," Cormier said.

"I've won a lot of fights in this division; I've never lost in this division. Becoming heavyweight champion probably didn't really surprise me as much as it may have surprised people in general."

Whatever happens this weekend, whatever may happen with the Jones saga, Cormier will leave pro MMA with enormous respect. His achievements command it, as they will a UFC Hall of Fame place. He has beaten everybody, except Jones, and done it with affable class.

Depending where you sit on MMA's rocky past and ongoing battle with PEDs, you could make an argument for Cormier - the wrestler from Louisiana - as the Greatest of All Time.

A second win over Miocic would only make that case stronger. A victory over Jones would make it near undeniable.

When Daniel Cormier goes to sleep, nightmares of Jon Jones have been replaced by dreams that cannot be taken away.

That happens when you become a double champion by claiming the UFC heavyweight title, and with it the mantle of 'The Baddest Man on the Planet'.

Cormier (22-1-0, 1 NC) defends his belt on Sunday (AEST) against the man from whom he took it: Stipe Miocic (18-3-0), victim of a round one KO in the first fight.

Watching on will be Jones, the light-heavyweight champion has been touted to rise to heavyweight and challenge his nemesis in a trilogy fight. Miocic could be Cormier's final opponent if a third Jones fight never eventuates.

And, provided he wins at UFC 241 in Anaheim, he would be content with that. With or without a win over Jones, his legacy as an all-time great is assured.

"Everything I have done speaks for itself. I've done things I never could have imagined, so if it was over, it's over. I could sleep well at night," Cormier, 40, told Wide World of Sports, while offering a far different take on Jones' career.

By his reckoning, Jones' legacy went back to zero when he again popped for drugs.

"Any time you have performance enhancers tied to your legacy, it's almost restarted. Everything is scratched, man. You can't have that stuff tied to what you've done. It's just so horrible," Cormier said.

"You can't do performance enhancers. You cannot have a failed test. Some guys say stuff like, 'I've only failed one test'. I'm like, 'You can't have any'.

"You should do things the right way. Compete clean and leave no questions as to who you are and how you did it.

"Everything's on my terms at this point. Whether I fight him again, whether I don't fight him again. If I choose at 205 (pounds) or at heavyweight. It doesn't matter – it's all going to be done by the rules that I set, whether him and I fight going forward."

Cormier-Jones has been arguably the most explosive rivalry in UFC history.

Before you even get to PEDs, there is the wild brawl at their face-off for UFC 178, followed by Jones threatening to "literally kill" Cormier while off air during an ESPN interview. Cormier told Jones during that exchange: "You're the f---ing scum of the earth. You're a terrible human being."

Jones won that first match, which ultimately happened at UFC 182 due to Jones withdrawing from UFC 178 with a leg injury. After retaining his light-heavyweight title via unanimous decision, Jones entered rehab three days later; it was revealed he'd tested positive for cocaine before the fight.

Jones popped for two banned substances – Clomiphene and Letrozole – before UFC 200, meaning his unification bout with Cormier was scrapped. Cormier had claimed the title after it was stripped from Jones over a hit-and-run incident involving a pregnant woman.

Jones then beat Cormier by round three knockout at UFC 214 (also in Anaheim), yet tested positive beforehand to a steroid, Turinabol. He was stripped of the belt again and Cormier elevated to champion; which he remained until he relinquished the strap after becoming heavyweight king. Now, Jones rules again at 205 pounds, reclaiming the vacant title last December against Alexander Gustafsson.

Jones is Cormier's only conqueror; UFC 182 remains his only official loss. He does not intend to take another in the Miocic rematch and is wary of leaving the sport before age makes him vulnerable.

He made the blunt admission that at his age, that could happen mid-fight this weekend.

"I could win this fight, take another fight and as soon as I get to training be like, 'Ahh! I don't feel good – it's over'. Or I could be in the Octagon on Saturday and things could just not feel the same, and I'll be like, 'It's over'," he said.

"I think when you're my age, you've gotta just to take it day by day, fight by fight and just work as hard as you can. And having the strength to walk away while you can still compete.

"I've done this so long, so much wear and tear on my body; but when I walk away from this thing, I'm still going to be able to compete with the best in the world. I'm going to have to have the mental capacity and the strength to walk away from fame, money, all this other stuff, knowing that I could still compete with those guys."

One thing is for sure: he is better prepared for this fight than for his first title defence. At UFC 230, he beat Derrick Lewis by round two submission on less than a month's notice.

"I feel great. I've trained hard, my body feels great. I haven't felt this good in a long time," Cormier said.

"Maybe it's because I'm gauging it against how I felt in November, after a two-and-a-half-week training camp. I walked into Madison Square Garden very unsure of how I would hold up going into that fight. But now I've had 12 weeks and I feel phenomenal."

'DC' is not tipping another early knockout. Miocic had some claims as the best heavyweight of all time before he was stopped by his fellow American at UFC 226 last year. He had impressively conquered the heavyweight division's rising freak, Francis Ngannou. The Cleveland fireman remains a beast.

"I think this one is much more difficult," Cormier said.

"I believe that him and his coaches, who are phenomenal coaches, will have made the adjustments that they need to make in order to make it a much more competitive fight. It was a very competitive fight right up until the knockout, so what I anticipate is being in there for a hard, long fight. But ultimately, I believe that I still get my hand raised.

"If he underestimated my punching power, it's a little bit his fault. We're fighting at heavyweight and at heavyweight, anybody can knock anybody out. It only takes the right shot."

https://twitter.com/dc_mma/status/1161692523359682560?s=20

Cormier, a former Olympic wrestler, may be primarily remembered for his exploits at 205 pounds, but should be regarded as a great heavyweight. He has never lost a round in the highest weight class, making his ascent as UFC champion less surprising than it may have seemed.

"I think people respect all that I do. I think they respect what I've done at light-heavyweight and heavyweight. I think they respect my career," Cormier said.

"I've won a lot of fights in this division; I've never lost in this division. Becoming heavyweight champion probably didn't really surprise me as much as it may have surprised people in general."

Whatever happens this weekend, whatever may happen with the Jones saga, Cormier will leave pro MMA with enormous respect. His achievements command it, as they will a UFC Hall of Fame place. He has beaten everybody, except Jones, and done it with affable class.

Depending where you sit on MMA's rocky past and ongoing battle with PEDs, you could make an argument for Cormier - the wrestler from Louisiana - as the Greatest of All Time.

A second win over Miocic would only make that case stronger. A victory over Jones would make it near undeniable.

https://ift.tt/2N4xttl
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