Contrary to what his detractors might say, Daniel Cormier was seeking out a fight with Jon Jones.
Speaking to “The MMA Hour” on Monday, the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion shared that he was initially offered a title defense against Jimi Manuwa, but that he lobbied to fight Jones instead.
“A week after I fought ‘Rumble’ [Johnson], Dana called me,” Cormier said. “I was on my way to Kansas City, and Manuwa was in his office and he goes, ‘You versus Manuwa in Anaheim,’ and I said, ‘Well, eh,’ and he said, ‘What’s wrong,’ and I go, ‘It needs to be Jones, make it happen.’”
Dana White had previously said that he was hesitant to headline a pay-per-view with Jones right away, so the idea of Cormier vs. Manuwa makes sense but Cormier went on to say that it was his persistence in asking for the fight that eventually led to the deal getting done.
“I badgered him and I badgered him, and I go, ‘tell me he’s ready to go,’ and he’s like, ‘I’m talking to him.’ So I go, ‘Tell me he’s going to do it,’ and he goes, ‘Well, I’m talking to him, we’re going get this figured out.’ And after about a week of me just badgering him, Dana goes, ‘DC calm down, I’m working on it.’ And finally, it was Jones. It had to be Jones.”
The insistence on Jones is a departure from what Cormier was saying immediately after his win over Anthony Johnson at UFC 210 in April. At the time, Cormier appeared to be gunning for a fight with Manuwa. In fact, Cormier openly mocked Manuwa from the cage as his win was being announced. Cormier was also dismissive of a Jones rematch, citing that Jones was suspended and not even eligible to fight.
Despite the change of tune, one thing Cormier is sure of is that his UFC 214 fight with Jones will be good for his pocketbook. “We did really well last time and I know the numbers we did were really, really well last time, and that was without [undercard] help, so I think we’ll do pretty good.”
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I’m a bit skeptical of Cormier that he was so insistent on getting the fight with Jones because his behavior for as long as he’s been the champion has indicated otherwise. That said, this is the best fight for the division provided Jones makes it to the cage and he still has a little under four weeks to screw this up. UFC 214 is an absolutely loaded card and it should be a great show if it holds together.
TUESDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Matt Hughes’ sister posted a statement to Facebook saying that “Matt is off the ventilator and showing some small signs of improvement.” She also added that “some stories and comments out there are exaggerated.”
-Michael Bisping said on “The MMA Hour” that if GSP “doesn’t step up” that he will fight the winner of this weekend’s fight between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker. Bisping very much urged GSP to confirm a fight with him for later in the year though.
-Also on “The MMA Hour,” Chris Weidman gave his account of the Cris Cyborg-Angela Magana altercation that he tried to intervene in at the UFC Athlete Retreat in May. I backed up and then within a second (Cyborg) takes her hand and cracks Magana,” Weidman said. “Magana did a little shaky leg thing and right away she got teary-eyed. At least from what I heard, right away she started to say, ‘I’m calling the cops’.”
-Alistair Overeem has to evacuate an Albuquerque hotel on Monday after there was an explosion in the building. “There was a huge black cloud,” Overeem told the ABQ Journal. “It was a little hectic, but I think the situation is under control now.” (SOURCE)
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 7/3: Justine Kish talks about embarrassing accident during her fight against Felice Herring (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)