Now it appears that the Las Vegas-based organization wants to have
Jones and Gustafsson vie for the vacant light heavyweight crown at
UFC 232 on Dec. 29. According to current 205-pound king Daniel
Cormier, things are “tense” between him and the UFC because the
promotion wants him to relinquish the belt. Cormier revealed the
situation during an appearance on “Ariel
Helwani’s MMA Show” on Monday.
“Everybody knows how I feel about Jon Jones,”
Cormier said. “It’s been tense, to say the least, with my
interaction with the company if indeed they offer a title fight to
him. I have to maintain a sense of professionalism.”
Cormier lost to Jones in a title bout at UFC 214 but was reinstated
as light heavyweight champion when “Bones” failed a drug test.
Although he was facing as much as a four-year suspension as a
repeat offender, Jones ultimately got a reduced 15-month sanction.
He will be eligible to return to the Octagon on Oct. 28.
Cormier claimed the heavyweight throne with a first-round finish of
Miocic at UFC 226 to become two-division champ. That victory
set up a lucrative showdown with Brock
Lesnar, which cannot occur until early next year after the WWE
star clears the USADA testing pool.
On Monday, Cormier revealed that a hand injury won’t allow him to
fight until January, but he seems to have reconsidered a trilogy
bout with Jones. “DC” had previously stated that had moved past
Jones after his rival’s reduced sanction was announced.
“I said I would be willing to fight, but it just can’t happen right
now,” Cormier said.
Cormier expects that he will be forced to give up the title but has
asked the UFC to be next in line to face the Jones-Gustafsson
winner if that does happen.
“I can’t turn this off,” Cormier said. “It’s my desire to fight and
compete against the best of the world. No matter how much I
disrespect him, he’s a phenomenal talent. But at the end of the
day, he’s a cheater. I want to compete against him again.”
Cormier has lost to Jones twice, once at UFC 182 and the
aforementioned contest at UFC 214 — which was later ruled a no
contest. The American Kickboxing Academy product owns a split
verdict over Gustafsson in a title bout at UFC 192.
Jones and Gustafsson squared off at UFC 165, with Jones defending
the light heavyweight crown in a thrilling five-round affair on
Sept. 21, 2013.