Jon Jones has been reinstated to the UFC, and it’s expected that he’ll fight Daniel Cormier in his return bout for the title he never lost. Cormier has said recently that he wants to take some time off, and was also adamant that he wouldn’t fight Jones in New York, but Jones’ manager Malki Kawa said this week that he thinks it’s ridiculous for Cormier to think he can dictate when and where that fight takes place.
“I don’t think DC has any choice in the matter, to be honest with you,” Kawa said on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “Everybody knows who the champion is.”
Kawa believes that the fact Jones beat Cormier in January at UFC 182 is all that really matters, and Cormier should be ready and willing to take that fight whenever Jones is ready to go. And, according to Kawa, that’s if Jones even wants Cormier to be his next opponent
“[Cormier is] a phenomenal fighter,” Kawa said. “But he still hasn’t beat Jon Jones. No one took that belt from him. At the end of the day, him parading around like ‘I’m the true champ,’ it doesn’t really sit well with me. I’m just me talking from my perspective. With that being said, to me I think it’s an important fight for DC. So if Jon wants to fight him in February, March, April, May, June, July, whatever, I think DC should just step up and take the fight.
“Here’s the thing people forget: He’s already beaten Daniel Cormier and it wasn’t close. So him talking, what does that really at the end of the day matter? [Jon] beat him up, he beat him up easy and it wasn’t even close. [Cormier] said he’d take Jon down a hundred out of a hundred times if he wanted and all that other stuff. And Jon kind of had his way. Took him down and did what he wanted and it wasn’t a close fight at all. With that being said, if Jon wants to fight someone else, then Jon will push to fight someone else. If Jon wants to fight Cormier because he wants his belt back, and that’s what’s in Jon’s head, then that’s what Jon’s going to do. It has no dictation at all because of Daniel Cormier.”
Penick’s Analysis: Cormier’s gotten his time at the top in Jones’ absence, but until he beats Jones he’s not the best in the field. That’s just the reality of this year at light heavyweight. It really isn’t up to Cormier as to when and where that fight happens, but it’s not necessarily up to Jones either. The UFC’s going to figure out where it fits best and talk to both from there, and the fight will happen. It’s still probably going to be Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas; regardless, we’ll find out within the next month or so more than likely. Cormier is unfortunately a placeholder until Jones returns, and he needs to prove he can succeed where he failed in January to hold onto that title.
[Jon Jones art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]