It’s been over a year since Jon Jones last stepped into the Octagon and it’s been more than two years since he was the reigning and defending light heavyweight champion in the UFC.
A myriad of personal and professional issues kept Jones out of action while also costing him the title after the UFC stripped him of the belt following a 2015 hit-and-run car accident that kept him suspended for a big part of the year.
In his absence, Daniel Cormier has served as champion in the 205-pound division with four wins in a row including two title defenses against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson.
As tough as it’s been to watch someone else defend the title he never truly lost, Jones has mixed feelings on how Cormier has done as champion while he’s been largely sidelined since the last time they met at UFC 182.
“The Alexander Gustafsson fight was awesome. He showed a lot of heart,” Jones told MMAWeekly.com on the UFC 214 media conference call on Monday. “That was a really great fight. As far as the Anthony Johnson fights, I mean there’s a clear path to beat Anthony Johnson. You take him down to the ground and you take him out. The guy’s lost to so many people by rear naked choke.
“I can’t really say I’m that impressed with those victories.”
As much praise or criticism that’s heaped on Cormier’s shoulders for what he’s accomplished as champion, the one asterisk that remains steadfast on the former Olympian’s record is the fact that he’s never beaten Jones inside the Octagon.
Jones makes no secret that he can taunt Cormier with that fact because he holds the only win over the current light heavyweight champion during his mixed martial arts career.
Cormier can beat everybody else in the world, but Jones says until he can conquer the greatest of all time, he’s still just fighting for second place.
“In my mind, I look at it one way — it’s like to go to sleep to consider yourself the baddest motherf–ker that has lived throughout this era, you’ve got to beat the baddest motherf–ker and he says ‘well I didn’t have to beat you, you beat yourself’ and every time he says that he validates what I’m saying. You just haven’t beat me,” Jones said.
“Am I impressed? You can beat as many people as you want, but until you beat ‘the guy’, you’re not ‘the guy’.”
When it comes to Cormier’s career accomplishments, Jones can’t help himself but to point out the shortcomings the former NCAA All-American wrestler has faced throughout his athletic career.
Jones has jabbed at his upcoming opponent with these same attacks several times in the past because he feels like Cormier likes to tout himself as a champion when really he’s never beaten the best in the world at anything he’s done.
“Throughout D.C.’s career, it’s been proven time and time again that he is not the one,” Jones said. “If he was the one he would have beat Cael Sanderson. If he was the one, he would have won the Olympics. If he was the one, he would have beat me the first time.
“I believe that I’m the one and I’m going to prove it another time this Saturday.”
Ultimately, Jones sees Cormier as a good fighter but not the greatest and that’s a fact he plans to prove abundantly clear when they finally meet again on Saturday night.
“The first time I fought Daniel it was like he’s undefeated, maybe he has that ‘it’ factor. Some people have that ‘it’ factor like Floyd Mayweather or Cael Sanderson or just people that can just go undefeated,” Jones explained.
“Now that I found out he doesn’t have it, I’m excited to freaking be the [greatest of all time] and to freaking not only beat this guy but to finish him this time. This is what my camp has expected out of me is finishing people and to provide an output I don’t believe he can handle. So we’re excited. We’re really excited about this.”