UFC light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier defends his 205-pound title against Jon Jones, the only man to have ever defeated him in MMA, this Saturday (July 29) at UFC 214. The pair initially fought back in January 2015 and Jones, then the champion, took a unanimous decision win that night. The singular blotch on Cormier’s resume, that defeat has been something the 38-year-old from Louisiana has been eager to avenge ever since. More than just a defeat, Cormier’s sole MMA loss came against a man he cannot stand, as Gareth A. Davies discovered in part one of this exclusive Q&A for Fighters Only.
Q: Why no let-up on Jon Jones from you?
Daniel Cormier: I’ve gone there so many times with Jon and been burned so many times. There’s no point anymore. I feel like because of that I think he never truly has to answer for his mess-ups.
Q: Does the Jones ‘thing’ keep you very motivated?
DC: It is motivating. I train so hard. He kind of crept up on me. I was doing my thing, working hard but not really in a hard camp, and all of a sudden we have this fight. Now I’m already training, already sparring, already getting some good work in. This is everything to me. This legacy. This is the one that matters. This is the one that mattered from January 1, 2015. I knew that we would be back here doing this again. Now it’s finally time.
Q: What do you do differently second time around?
DC: I’ve got to do a number of things different. We re-watch the fight and go through all of our stuff and there’s a number of things we did wrong. I kind of fell in a straight line against him last time and I was too there for his knees and kicks. I really do have to work on the kick defence. There’s a lot of things, man. But there were areas where I found success. too. I’m just going to try and fight in those areas much, much more.
Q: Will the lay off – Jones has fought just twice in two-and-a-half years – have an effect on Jones?
DC: I think the guy is so talented that it won’t make that much of a difference. I think he’s so talented he’ll be fine. But there will be a few things. I think he’ll be okay, though. He’s a talented guy.
Q: So how do you feel about him as a fighter and as a man?
DC: I do respect him as a fighter. How can you not? He’s done a lot of things in his career. But there are a few things on the opposite end that I really don’t respect all that much. Even Jon says it at times: “This is not my personal life.” You know what? He’s right. So, whatever. I just want to beat him.
Q: Will you ever be friends? Will hatchets be buried when your careers are done?
DC: No, I have no desire to be friends with him. Why? I’m fine, man. I have enough friends in my life. I’m pretty sure he’s got some friends, too. We don’t need each other in that aspect. We’re more than fine.
*** The full Daniel Cormier Q&A appears in the August issue of Fighters Only magazine ***