Cormier: I am willing to give Jones title shot immediately
Daniel Cormier could have his next title fight lined up as early as Thursday when he visits with UFC officials to discuss his rematch with former champion Jon Jones, who was recently reinstated to the promotion.
Cormier won the light heavyweight title in May after Jones was indefinitely suspended following a hit-and-run accident in New Mexico that led to the top-ranked fighter being arrested and facing potential felony charges.
Jones saw his legal woes come to an end in late September after being sentenced to 18 months’ probation. Now that he’s been reinstated, it seems like only a matter of time before he’s confirmed for a second fight against Cormier in 2016.
"(The UFC) respected that I was in such a tough fight with Alexander Gustafsson that they gave me some time," Cormier said on "UFC Tonight" on Wednesday. "Tomorrow I’m actually going out to Vegas with my manager. We’re going to talk to Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta). We’re going to discuss the future whether it’s going to be Jones, what’s it going to be, where’s it going to be. Tomorrow, that’s when we do that."
While the title is wrapped around Cormier’s waist, he lost to Jones in January when the two light heavyweights met at UFC 192. Jones was stripped of his title following his arrest and Cormier went on to defeat Anthony Johnson to win the vacant belt in his absence.
Cormier recently thwarted Gustafsson’s attempt to wrestle the belt away from him and the UFC champion believes whether he held the belt or not, those two wins would have been more than enough to earn a second shot at Jones anyways.
The only difference now: Jones is no longer the champion and Cormier shines his belt everyday in preparation of another title defense.
"If Jones beat me in January, and he said, ‘Daniel you have to earn your way back to a rematch’, I would have fought the two best guys in the division, (Anthony) ‘Rumble’ Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson, to get back there," Cormier said. "If Jones was still the champion, I would have earned that rematch.
"The thing is, I’m the champion now and I want to fight him. I am willing to give him a title shot immediately back into the UFC. It’s great for the fans, great for the organization because he is pound for pound the best fighter in the world."
While Ryan Bader still sits waiting for word on his fate with a five-fight win streak in the division, Cormier knows the only name that’s going to end up on the other end of his next bout agreement is Jones.
It’s the fight that makes sense and it’s also a chance to redeem himself after losing to Jones by unanimous decision in their last meeting.
"We should be fighting," Cormier said. "He’s beaten everybody else — well he beat me, too. I said from the moment we walked out of the Octagon on Jan. 3, I would like to rematch Jon Jones. The circumstances have changed things now. Now it’s flipped — I’m the champion, he’s the challenger, but I think once they lock us back inside the Octagon, we’ll make for some good business, we’ll make for some fireworks.
"I cannot wait to fight this guy again."
As for the location of the bout, Cormier said just after his win at UFC 192 that the proposed card in April scheduled for Madison Square Garden in New York is the only place he’d refuse to fight Jones.
While UFC officials aren’t even positive the fight can take place there yet due to a statewide ban on mixed martial arts, if the show moves forward, Jones could headline in his home state.
Well, not if Cormier has anything to say about it.
"I’m not going to fight him in New York. I’m not going to give him that comfort," Cormier said. "I want him to be able to fight in a different place, make him face the people that are disappointed for his actions.
"Obviously, fighting in Madison Square Garden would be a tremendous opportunity for anybody, but under these circumstances, I am the champion. I want to dictate where this fight takes place if we have that option. It would be huge, I wrestled in Madison Square Garden, so I’ve done it before. I don’t need to do it again."