Jon Jones is the only man ever to defeat Daniel Cormier, and he did it twice, both at light heavyweight, even though his July 2017 win over Cormier was overturned after he tested positive for Turinabol, an anabolic-androgenic steroid. And that is how Cormier was able to reclaim the throne as UFC light heavyweight champion. He’s also had a successful title defense since then, TKOing Volkan Oezdemir in the second round back in January.
Then this past weekend Cormier moved up a weight class to capture the UFC heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic at UFC 226. The only other person to ever simultaneously hold two UFC belts was Conor McGregor, though he never defended either his featherweight or lightweight title.
All signs are pointing to Cormier making his first title defense at heavyweight (and possibly his last fight) against WWE superstar and former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar at some point. Despite the size discrepancy, frankly, Cormier should have no problem stopping Lesnar as it’s always been an issue for him taking punches and his standup is light years behind Cormier.
However, there is the case of Jon Jones. Once he is able to return to competition, he could potentially be a challenger to Cormier’s belts (and legacy) at either light heavyweight or heavyweight. Jones’s manager, Malki Kawa, was on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday and relayed what Jones had said to him after Cormier’s win over Miocic:
“His words to me were, ‘good for him, I guess now we can say welcome to the club, he’s actually a champion, he won the heavyweight belt, and no one can take that from him. He’s the heavyweight champion of the world,'” Jones told Kawa. “Then he said, ‘Malki, this is the best thing that could ever happen. Now I have the choice of coming back and can kick his ass at light heavyweight or heavyweight.'”
“He beat the guy twice, he’s not jealous,” Kawa said. “When you beat the guy twice, and the second time was more definitive than the first, Jon looks at it and says, ‘All right great, now I can come back and fight at my choice, heavyweight or light heavyweight.'”
Cormier has set a date of March 2019 for his retirement. He’ll be 40 years-old. He only wants the big money fights at this point. Lesnar is one. The other could be Jon Jones. However, if he does want to retire and ride off into the sunset, it may not be the best move to take a final fight with Jones. On the other hand, if he doesn’t test himself against Jones one more time, maybe this time at heavyweight, will he be able to live with not knowing what would have happened?
If he doesn’t fight Jones at heavyweight some naysayers would certainly think Cormier was ducking him. In the end Cormier has to live with his own thoughts and judgment though and not taking on Jones at heavyweight could be worse than the loss he might take against him if they do fight.