Cormier vs. Jones is exactly what the UFC needs
On Saturday night, Jon "Bones" Jones and Alexander Gustafsson had their long awaited rematch. Despite a big win from Jones to regain the light heavyweight title, the fight was kind of a letdown. That's not to say it wasn't a technically great bout from both sides, but it wasn't the five round war that the two went through back in 2013 at UFC 165.
I'm not here to argue that Gustafsson doesn't have it anymore, but after going 3-3 in his six fights since UFC 165, he wasn't the right fighter to go up against an assassin like Jon Jones. The fight showed just that, as even Gustafsson himself said that Jones shut him down "very early" in UFC 232.
Realistically, there is only one fight left that needs to be made in order to prove a whole lot in the UFC... Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier. It's well publicized that Cormier is likely to retire after his next fight, no matter who his opponent is, so why not match him up against another one of the all time greats?
Currently, as per the UFC website, Daniel Cormier is the number one ranked pound for pound fighter in all of the UFC after winning seven straight contests (not including the no contest due to the suspension of Jon Jones). Alternatively, Jones is ranked at number three despite only having one recorded fight since April of 2016 due to a drug related suspension. Given that the only fighter in between the two of them (Khabib Nurmagomedov) is two full weight classes below the pair, this is essentially the best rankings match-up you could put together.
But the rankings aren't even the biggest draw for a Jones-Cormier bout. There is an obvious public hatred from both sides of the pairing. The two fighters have fought twice (one fair, one while Jones was using performance enhancers) and there is enough bad blood from those two fights that they would have massive draw on a rematch.
That bad blood has seemingly boiled over into the media. You don't have to go any further than this weekend to see exactly what I'm talking about. Two things happened around the same time that added a little more fuel to the fire on this feud. First there was Jones' comments in his post fight octagon interview with Joe Rogan where he called out Cormier by name and added some big words towards the former champ.
In the interview Jones said:
I know there's a guy who's been calling himself champ champ. I mean... what guy just gives up his belt because somebody else made it home? Daddy's home DC. Prove to the fans that you're a champ champ, come get a taste. I'm here, come get your belt back.
If that wasn't enough, Cormier went for the killshot shortly after Jones took the win. The current number one took to twitter and tweeted out:
If you haven't followed the situation, Jones has been suspended twice for drug related offences, both of which DC has been very vocal about. The issue is still prevalent given the fact that there was a small trace of illegal substances found in his system before the Gustafsson fight.
With the tweet, DC is essentially saying that the only reason he is sitting on a 15 fight unbeaten streak is because he is on performance enhancers. With that, he is saying that unless he's clean, there's no way that Jones could beat him again.
The timing will be tough, given that DC is running on the last legs of his career, and probably won't be looking to prove himself against a noted cheater like Jon Jones. If they can find a way to make it happen, there isn't a doubt in my mind that this fight could be almost as emotional as a Khabib and Conor rematch.