The Truth About Jon Jones And Daniel Cormier's Rivalry

Although most of the action in the UFC happens in the octagon, much can also be said about the verbal wars waged by its fighters on social media and during pre- and post-fight press conferences. The promos may not be scripted or always as entertaining as they are in professional wrestling, but that arguably adds authenticity to the many iconic rivalries in the UFC and mixed martial arts (MMA) in general. Those feuds include the one between longtime former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and ex-U.S. Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier.

For several years, "Bones" and "DC" had no love lost for each other, rapidly exchanging potshots that often hit too close to home. As fans know, that feud culminated in a memorable pair of fights that likely won't be followed up by a third, due to Cormier's retirement, as MMA Fighting reported last August.

These days, Cormier is now in the UFC broadcast booth while Jones is making plans to move to the heavyweight division. However, their rivalry likely won't be forgotten for a while because of how long and intense it turned out to be.

Jones claims he tried to be friendly at first

By most accounts, Jones and Cormier first crossed paths way back in 2010 when both were backstage at UFC 121. This was when "Bones" had yet to win UFC light heavyweight gold and "DC" was still a relative newcomer to the sport, albeit a promising one as part of rival promotion Strikeforce's roster.

As quoted by Bleacher Report, Jones told MMA journalist Ariel Helwani that he originally tried to be friendly with Cormier, being that he was "another Black guy" in mixed martial arts.

"I felt the need to say hello to him, and I was just like 'hey man, I hear you're a great wrestler' and all this stuff, and he's like 'Yeah, yeah, you don't know who I am?'" he continued. "I'm like 'No I don't know who you are, but my coaches were telling me that you wrestle on the Olympic level.' And I was like 'I bet you that I could take you down.'"

Cormier, however, had a different recollection, telling ESPN (via Bleacher Report) that he didn't expect Jones to know about his Olympic background. Instead, he felt insulted by how the up-and-coming light heavyweight standout was trying to break the ice with "derogatory" remarks and threats to take him down in the octagon.

Brawl at UFC 178 press conference

The next few years served as a calm before the storm as Jones and Cormier mostly went about their own business, with the former kicking off his dominant reign as light heavyweight champion and the latter finally making his UFC debut after the company bought out Strikeforce. That changed in 2014, when Cormier stepped in for an injured Alexander Gustafsson to challenge Jones for the title at UFC 178.

During a press conference (pictured above) on August 4, 2014, all hell broke loose as both men had their customary staredown. Jones seemed to get too close to Cormier for his liking, which led to the challenger shoving the champion and the two fighters having a nasty brawl that couldn't quite be controlled by the proverbial cooler heads. The two fighters also had a profanity-laced verbal exchange following an ESPN interview, with Cormier threatening to spit in Jones' face and Jones upping the ante by saying he would "literally kill" Cormier if he made good on his threat.

Unfortunately for fight fans, the fisticuffs and the schoolyard-level insults were almost for naught, as Jones suffered a torn meniscus on August 12, forcing the fight against Cormier to be rescheduled for UFC 182 on January 3, 2015.

Jones dominates Cormier twice, expresses regret over feud

At UFC 182, Jones proved to be the better man, dominating Cormier to retain the belt. "Bones" then dealt with various personal and legal issues that resulted in him being stripped of his championship and forced to enter rehab. In May 2015, Cormier stepped in for Jones to defeat Anthony "Rumble" Johnson for the vacant light heavyweight title at UFC 187.

Jones was finally set to return to action ahead of UFC 200 in July 2016, and the stage was set for a second fight against Cormier. But a positive drug test for the returning fighter threw a spanner in the works, causing Bones vs. DC II to be rescheduled for UFC 214 one year later.

As recalled by TalkSPORT, Jones had an even easier time defeating Cormier in their rematch as he regained his status as undisputed light heavyweight champion. Interestingly, he seemed to express regret over his feud with Cormier, admitting during a radio interview that he found it hard to see his rival so emotionally shattered by the knockout loss at UFC 214.

"I'd like to be cool with him, especially being a young Black man, there's not too many Black men in the sport," Jones said. "So I think it's sad when we're at each other's throats. If anything we should be rallying around each other, supporting each other and lifting each other up."

The feud still rages on

By now, you probably know what happened next — Jones lost his belt yet again after another positive drug test and his last win versus Cormier was changed to a no-contest. Their personal rivalry also seemed to have simmered down quite a bit, with "Bones" even going as far as to console "DC" after the death of his stepfather in 2019. However, it appears that their beef has heated up once again amid rumors of Jones' plans to move up to heavyweight in 2021.

As reported by Sportskeeda on March 5, Cormier suggested on a recent episode of his podcast with Ariel Helwani that Jones doesn't have the knockout power required to dominate the heavyweight division. This kicked off a social media exchange between both men, one that featured Jones reminding his old rival of his eventually-overturned UFC 214 victory and Cormier bringing up Jones' history with banned substances.

"There is a difference punch vs kick, you're still as dumb as you've always been, you'll never surprise me. Dance for me, I can always make you move. And lastly , this fight didn't count if you forgot there was an issue...... remember?" Cormier wrote.

At the rate they're going, no one should be surprised if they're still sniping at each other 20 to 30 years into the future.