FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/28: Jon Jones says he’ll never fight Cormier at heavyweight, Cormier relinquishes light heavyweight title, and more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Jon Jones (photo credit Mark J. Rebilas © USA Today Sports)

No heavyweight for Jones

Jon Jones is one of the most successful light heavyweights of all time. Since early in his reign, many have asked if and even assumed that he would one day move up to challenge at heavyweight. Now that his top rival, Daniel Cormier, is heavyweight champion, it would seem like a given he would make the move. Jones doesn’t feel that way though.

“He looks good at heavyweight,” Jones said at the UFC 232 weigh-in show (via MMAFighting). “He’s designed to be a heavyweight. He’s comfortable there. He naturally goes to heavyweight between every fight. That is his spot, and like I said, he makes a great heavyweight champion. Even before fighting me, he was on a tear at heavyweight. That’s his zone. I have no reason to challenge him at heavyweight, because for me it’s not personal.”

While he sounds respectful on the surface, Jones made sure to get one last dig in on the now former light heavyweight champion.

“When he comes down to light heavyweight, it’ll be personal again. And he can have what he has, I’ll have what I have, and that’s being the most dominant light heavyweight champion, the only light heavyweight champion since 2011.”

Cormier relinquishes the light heavyweight title

Daniel Cormier announced today that he is officially, as expected, relinquishing the UFC light heavyweight championship. It seems as if Cormier wanted to have some control over the matter. The plan had been for Cormier to be stripped upon the commencement of Saturday’s Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson fight.

“Today I am going to relinquish the UFC light heavyweight title,” Cormier said (via ESPN). “I am not going to be stripped of the belt that I’ve defended with my all for three and a half years. Being stripped of a title suggests you’ve done something wrong, and I haven’t.

“I’d rather walk away this way, with my head held high as it always has been, than have the history books say I was stripped. I’ve defended this title this year. I was approached with the idea of fighting at heavyweight, so I took it. I fought three times in 2018. No champion has been more active than me. I am the fighter of the year. My story and my legacy will not include me being stripped of a title. They can have it.”

Cormier first won the light heavyweight championship in 2015 with a win over Anthony Johnso after Jones was first stripped of his title. Cormier lost that title in July 2017 to Jones but got it back when Jones failed a USADA drug test.

Friday Notebook

-Regarding Daniel Cormier relinquishing his light heavyweight title, Dana White told MMAJunkie “He’s being a little dramatic because of his hatred for Jon Jones. He would’ve never been stripped. He’s vacating. … I expect Cormier to be all fired up and on a rampage. He hates this guy.”

-UFC and USADA have renewed their agreement and plan to increase the rate of testing by 30 to 40 percent.

-Regarding speculation that Jon Jones ended up with turinabol in his system by snorting tainted cocaine, Jeff Novitsky told Joe Rogan on his podcast, “It’s absolutely a theory.”

-Everyone made weight for UFC 232 except for Montel Jackson who came in a pound heavy for his bantamweight fight with Brian Kelleher.

-Dennis Bermudez vs. Te Edwards has been booked for UFC Fight Night Brooklyn on Jan. 19.

UFC 232 Embedded

In case you missed it

COVINGTON’S CORNER: Keeping up with the Joneses

MMA YEAR IN REVIEW: July sees Daniel Cormier become double-champ and immediately confronted by Brock Lesnar

UFC 232: Jones vs Gustafsson Preview

ROUNDTABLE: Staff predictions for Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes at UFC 232

MMA Year in Review – August: The hype begins for Conor vs. Khabib

NEW PODCAST: MMA Scope with Cole Henry and Patrick Shaheen – RIZIN, Cerrone-McGregor, Cain Velasquez, and more

MMATORCH YEAR END AWARDS: Submission of the Year

UFC 232 PREDICTIONS: Grocke’s updated odds and predictions for all main card fights

NEW PODCAST: MMATorch Today 12/28 – Interview with Jared Gordon

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