It’s almost impossible to mention Daniel Cormier’s name without bringing up his feud with Jon Jones — something the light heavyweight champion has come to accept.
But with Jones’s competitive status in limbo while he deals with an ongoing USADA case, and Cormier picking up his third career title defense with a second-round TKO win over Volkan Oezdemir in the co-main event of UFC 220 on Saturday, “DC” wants to put any talk of his rival to the side for now.
“I want to see what happens,” Cormier said at the UFC 220 post-fight press conference when asked if he had a message for Jones. “Not only am I — I’m just past it right now. Until he’s able to do what we want to do, and that’s fight, I’m kind of past it. I’m kind of in this spot when it comes to Jones. Competitively, all I want is to fight him again, but at some point it’s just like, is it ever going to be a fight without nothing else? And I don’t know if I can put myself through that again.
“I’ve done everything right and I’ve just been dragged down by this guy constantly, so I’m not thinking about it. I’m gonna do my thing for right now.”
Cormier and Jones have met twice in the Octagon, with Cormier losing a unanimous decision in the first bout back in 2015 and suffering a brutal third-round knockout in the rematch this past July. The KO loss was later changed to a no-contest when it was discovered that Jones had failed a drug test.
Even with the outcome technically erased from the record books, nothing could erase the visual of Cormier being dropped in frightening fashion by a head kick and openly weeping as he was asked to offer some post-fight thoughts just minutes later. On Saturday, Cormier was emotional again and he went as far as to say that he didn’t consider his UFC 220 win to be a title defense, but rather a fight for a vacant championship.
The spoils of the Octagon are secondary to Cormier anyway, as he was far more concerned about picking up a victory for his children, who were attending one of his fights for the first time. It was a far more positive experience for Cormier and his family, and he explained why he is especially appreciative of this latest triumph.
“Last time, I was in the hospital. The press conference was going on, I was at the hospital,” Cormier said. “If not for anything else, to be able to look at my mom and not see tears in her eyes, and look at my wife and not see a look of confusion, or wake up on Sunday morning and hear my son, who came to the fight for the first time.
“You know, the whole Jones thing, it sucked. I lost the fight and I got beat. I got my ass kicked and I cried in the Octagon. I cried before I went to bed. But you know when I cried the most is when, Sunday morning, I’m laying on the couch and my kids are in bed with their mom, and my boy rolls over and he taps his mom — because every time he’d never go to the fights, he wanted to know if his dad won. You know what I heard at 7:30 in the morning in Anaheim? He tapped his mom and he goes, ‘Mom, did dad win?’ She said, ‘No, he didn’t win this time.’ I was laying there, I could hear ‘em, so I got my back to him and I’m crying and not long after I feel my boy behind me hugging me. That was the hurtful thing.
“So for him to get to experience the other side of it is big for me and my daughter and my family. It’s all family to me. I appreciate this, but I appreciate them being able to smile tonight instead of shedding tears.”