Daniel Cormier is one of the best MMA fighters to ever step into the octagon, and yet, it seems his career has been defined by two matches with Jon Jones. Cormier lost both, the latter of which was deemed a no decision after Jones tested positive for an anabolic steroid.
It has to be frustrating for Cormier to be so linked to Jones despite everything he has accomplished in his career, no?
“It’s a little bit of an issue,” Cormier said on Reiter Than You. “We’re so tied together that it’s almost like the things that I have done get lost within the rivalry. I’ve had 20 fights outside of him, and it’s almost like those things are ignored because of the fights with Jones and the aftermath and the press-conference fight and the drugs and the alcohol and the failed tests. It’s unfortunate that we find ourselves in this situation when what we had would have always been looked on as something so crazy because of the level of the rivalry. But now it’s always got that asterisk next to it and he’s kind of put that asterisk next to my career, too.”
Jones beat Cormier by unanimous decision at UFC 182 in January 2015 and by knockout at UFC 214 in July 2017. The rematch was overturned once Jones tested positive for Turinabol.
Some MMA fans believe, even after two fights, that it’s not clear who the better fighter is. Cormier, however, doesn’t go down that road.
“I think that mentality, it would hinder me for a long time,” he said. “I won’t know. It is what it is. He set up that kick. All fight he did a good job of setting up that kick, and then he got it off. So it is what it is. But I can’t let that drag me down anymore. I’m so done worrying about these guys and their issues. All I can be is me: steady, get to the fight, fight to the best of my ability, and hopefully continue to get my hands raised. It’s unfortunate, but what are you going to do?”
Cormier (19-1, 1 NC) will face Volkan Oezdemir (15-1) at UFC 220 in Boston this Saturday. His strategy is simple.
“Just make him work,” Cormier said. “That’s one thing I’m known for. I’m known for getting in a guy’s face, making him work for however long the fight lasts, and that’s what I’m going to do to Volkan. I’m going to go out there and really put some pressure on him, use my stand-up to get close, and just really start to wear on him and hopefully empty that gas tank.”