The rivalry between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier has been as thrilling to watch outside the octagon as it has been inside the octagon. Many hurdles occurred that stopped the two from fighting in the octagon and have fueled their rivalry.
For example, after Jones beat Cormier in 2015, Jones was stripped of his title after a hit-and-run incident. Cormier then won the vacant Light Heavyweight title. But when the pair was scheduled to fight again at UFC 197, Cormier injured his foot and had to pull out. The fight was then moved to UFC 200; however, Jones tested positive for a banned substance a day before the fight, and so it was canceled again.
Cormier would defend his title twice before he got another chance to fight Jones at UFC 214. Jones would again win this fight, this time by knocking out Cormier in the 3rd round.
However, Jones again tested positive for a banned substance and was again stripped of his title. This meant that Cormier never lost his belt to Jones and Cormier would go on to successfully defend his belt one more time against Volkan Oezdemir before a super-fight between him and then Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic was inked.
Daniel Cormier’s redemption
In the underdog performance of his life, Cormier knocked out Miocic in the first round, winning the Heavyweight title and becoming a two-weight class champion.
After the fight, the former Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar stepped into the octagon and declared his intention to fight Cormier. However, ultimately that fight never panned out.
Cormier would go on to submit Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 before eventually being scheduled to fight Miocic again at UFC 241. Due to inactivity in the division, Cormier was eventually stripped of his Light Heavyweight title.
All the meanwhile, after Cormier made the full move back to Heavyweight (Cormier started his career as an undefeated Heavyweight before slimming down to Light Heavyweight), Jones has won back the Light Heavyweight title and defended it twice against Light Heavyweight contenders Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos.
For Jones, there are not many more men left for him to fight at Light Heavyweight as he’s beaten 4 of the top 6 Light Heavyweights in the world.
A third fight at heavyweight?
A move to Heavyweight has been something that fans and Jones has contemplated before, as after his win over Cormier at UFC 214 Jones called out Brock Lesnar.
At Heavyweight, Cormier is still undefeated and poses a new challenge to Jones, that of someone who hits much harder than Jones is used to. After Cormier’s rematch with Miocic, he’ll have one fight left on his contract.
The 40-year old Heavyweight champion has expressed interest in retiring after his contract is over and that he wants a final fight with Jones, this time at Heavyweight.
Jones has also expressed interest in fighting Cormier again, and their encounter at the recent ESPYs awards was not on good terms either. Beating Jones has been the dream of Cormier, as Jones has never been beaten by anyone inside the octagon and his only loss came from a controversial disqualification.
With Jones still being practically undefeated and Cormier beating everybody not named Jon Jones, a third and final fight between them would make the most sense, especially as a way to close out Cormier’s career as a fighter.
Given how many incidents have happened outside the octagon leading up to their fights, it’s hard to imagine the luck that’s required for the two to successfully fight again in the octagon.
But if Cormier beats Miocic again at UFC 241, then a third fight between him and Jon Jones would be the best fight to make. How that fight would go is anyone’s guess, as Cormier has shown a surprising amount of power at Heavyweight and Jones has shown why he’s considered the greatest of all time. If that third and final fight happens at Heavyweight, then it would be the definitive end to that iconic rivalry.