Outside of the obvious dislike between UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former champ Jon Jones, the second most obvious thing between these two men is that no matter what Jones does, fans will always side with him and hate Cormier. In all reality, those that boo Cormier are very much misguided and misled by the greatness of Jones, the fighter.
Cormier, formerly the Strikeforce heavyweight champion, has one loss in his entire career. It came against Jones. His stellar record alone is good enough to earn respect for a man who is also a former Olympic wrestler. Outside of the Octagon, Cormier has done a great job as a desk analyst on Fox Sports 1’s UFC Tonight show and even sounded very well on different pay-per-view broadcasts alongside Jon Anik and Joe Rogan.
So, why the hate for Cormier?
While Jones rose to fame so quickly and so masterfully with his performances inside the cage, it seems that even after failing drug tests for cocaine, having several run-ins with law enforcement, and being flagged by USADA for use of an estrogen blocker, Jones can do no wrong in the eyes of fight fans.
Maybe there is hatred for Cormier because he’s always been straight up about Jones? Maybe it’s because he’s willing to call out Jones and simply just wants to avenge his loss? Some will say the way Cormier comes at Jones makes him sound like a complainer, but there’s not much for Cormier to complain about. It’s fair for him to be agitated with his biggest rival, who continues to get breaks no matter what he does inside or outside of the sport.
Cormier wasn’t handed the belt when Jones made mistakes that cost him to be stripped of his title not once, but twice. Cormier had to win the belt for himself the first time. When Jones was stripped the first time, Cormier stepped in and fought Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at UFC 187 and got the job done quickly with a second-round submission over the powerful striker.
Following his victory over Johnson, Cormier went on to defend his title against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192 and then the rematch with Jones was booked for UFC 197. Just a week before the event, Cormier had to withdraw due to injury and Jones returned to take on Ovince Saint Preux for the interim title. Jones beat Saint Preux and called out Cormier. The rematch was once again booked, this time for UFC 200. Those plans were ruined just days before the fight after Jones was flagged by the USADA. To stay on the card, Cormier took on Anderson Silva in a non-title fight, where he was victorious by decision.
After the USADA situation, Jones was stripped of his interim title and suspended one year. After his win over Silva, Cormier ran it back with Rumble in a rematch at UFC 210. As the return of Jones inched closer and closer, Cormier began to open his mouth about his rival and made no secret of his disdain for Jones.
While Jones views Cormier as just another stepping stone in his MMA legacy, Cormier’s championship legacy without a doubt is defined by his rivalry with Jones. With only one loss on his record — coming from Jones — not only would Cormier be able to avenge his lone defeat, but he would cement his legacy as one of the best to ever compete.
You may not like Cormier, but as UFC 214 gets closer and closer, fans have a chance to finally see this rivalry renewed. Meanwhile, both fighters finally have their chance to take the next step.
If Jones wins his title, then it’ll be interesting to see what is next for him, either in his division or in a move up to heavyweight.
A win for Cormier not only means revenge, but it could also lead to him riding off into the sunset. The light heavyweight champion has said that there is nobody else besides Jones when it comes to his fighting legacy, so a win not only crosses off his top opponent but it could quite possibly cross off the last opponent of his career.
No matter the result, Cormier has done everything right in the MMA world, both in the cage and outside of it. Fans may be loyal and dedicated to Jones, but the hatred of Cormier is extremely unwarranted.