There is a lot at stake for Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones at UFC 200.
The winner will walk away as the undisputed UFC light heavyweight champion and with bragging rights over his fiercest rival. But more importantly, legacy is on the line.
That, however, isn’t a huge concern for Jones, who told the media this week that all of the pressure is on Cormier when it comes to securing a long-lasting legacy.
"I just think the pressure’s on for him," Jones said, per MMAFighting’s Dave Doyle. "It really is a make-or-break situation for him. I enjoy being in the position that I am; I feel there’s a lot less pressure on me. I’m 28 years old and I have a long time to fight, where he’s in a position where if he loses this one, he never really was the champion, and I think he knows that."
Cormier, 37, is not only the oldest fighter ranked in the light heavyweight top 15, but also the oldest champion in the UFC. He’s beaten some of the best fighters the world has to offer during his MMA career, including Roy Nelson, Josh Barnett, Bigfoot Silva and Dan Henderson.
More recently, Cormier scored a win over the most powerful fighter in the division in Anthony Johnson and went five full rounds to earn a split decision over Alexander Gustafsson.
However, in Cormier’s first fight against Jones in January 2015, he lost all but one round on all three judges’ scorecards, and another loss to "Bones" could tarnish a legacy that spans two weight classes. It also would push Cormier to the back of the line of title contenders.
"After I win this second fight, he’s over. He’s really over," Jones said. "He’s done a great job of doing commentary work, but it will be a major blow to his legacy to lose again."
Jones’ only professional loss came because of an illegal elbow thrown at an opponent and he never lost his belt at the hands of another man, but rather as a result of his own actions that forced him to relinquish it.
Once Jones returned, he earned a solid victory over Ovince Saint Preux and regained his spot at the top of the UFC pound-for-pound list. A list that ranks Cormier at seventh, despite his champion status.
Jones, with all of his legal troubles behind him and a renewed focus, is eager to take care of business at UFC 200 and leave his rivalry with DC in the past.
"He tries to paint the picture of, it’s me and him and the rest of the division," Jones said. "But that’s not the way No. 1 works. There’s only one top dog and then there’s the rest of the division. I’m excited to go out there and prove that this is my time and my era. I don’t want to share this time with anyone else, I don’t want anyone to say it was the Jon Jones and DC era together. I want it to be my time."