Daniel Cormier Trying to “Maintain a Sense of Professionalism” as UFC Pursues Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson Title Fight

Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson
Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Daniel Cormier revealed Monday that the UFC is considering stripping him of his light heavyweight title, to facilitate a light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232.

Daniel Cormier is the second simultaneous two-weight champion in the UFC. The reigning light heavyweight and heavyweight champion. And a bitter rival of former light heavyweight champ Jon Jones. The history between the two is well known. But as Cormier awaits a showdown with Brock Lesnar, it appears the UFC isn’t keen on waiting for D.C. to defend his 205lb title. Instead, Cormier said on Monday’s episode of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, the UFC is exploring having him relinquish the light heavyweight title.

Which puts Cormier, who also serves as a UFC analyst as well as a double champ, in a difficult position. Especially since the plan would then be to book a title fight between Jones and Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 this December.

“Everybody knows how I feel about Jon Jones,” Cormier told Helwani on Monday. “It’s been tense, to say the least, with my interaction with the company if indeed they offer a title fight to him [Jones]. I have to maintain a sense of professionalism.”

News broke just last month that Jones, who was suspended yet again after his fight with Cormier at UFC 214 last year, had received a 15 month suspension for his latest doping scandal. Much has been made of the punishment (or lack thereof), which allegedly stems in part from Jones providing “substantial assistance” to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (read: serving as a stool pigeon).

Cormier, had previously stated he would not fight Jones again (the pair have met twice, with Cormier losing each meeting, though the UFC 214 loss was overturned to a No Contest). However, he seems to have changed his mind, saying Monday that “I said I would be willing to fight, but it just can’t happen right now.” Instead, Cormier added that “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.” Though the dual-champ couldn’t result another dig: “at the end of the day, he’s a cheater.” Still, “I want to compete against him again,” he finished.