For all of his trials and tribulations away from the cage, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones has always been one of the most cerebral competitors inside the UFC’s octagon.
And in a revealing interview on Dan Hardy’s ‘Open Mat’ show on BT Sport, the two-time undisputed light-heavyweight champion of the world spoke openly and honestly about his career trajectory, and why he won’t face old foe Daniel Cormier at heavyweight.
With Jones on top of the UFC’s 205-pound division once again, and Cormier currently ruling the UFC’s heavyweight class, the prospect of the pair meeting for a third time for one of the two belts is floating in the ether.
But Jones has made clear that, while he’d happily put his light-heavyweight title on the line against ‘DC’, he won’t be moving up to heavyweight to challenge the former Olympian for his heavyweight title.
The reasoning, according to Jones, is simple. He has no intention of giving such a dangerous opponent a clear advantage.
“I’m a realist,” he explained. Daniel Cormier is a special athlete and everyone can be beat.
“I think my greatest chance of losing would be to a guy like Daniel Cormier, giving him a power and strength advantage over me. It just doesn’t make sense.
“Right now I make light-heavyweight very easily and it just wouldn’t make sense to fight a guy who I think technically [is] on your level, and to give him a size advantage, I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it.
“I’m sure my fans don’t like to hear me talk like that, but that’s just me being a realist and being respectful to Daniel’s abilities.”
However, while Jones seemingly closed the door on moving up to challenge for the heavyweight strap, he did leave a little bait for his old adversary, as he suggested Cormier would never come back down to 205lbs, because the pain of a third loss at that weight would be simply too much for him.
“He’s definitely never coming back to light heavyweight,” he said.
“He says it, but there’s no way he’s coming back to light-heavyweight.
“To commit your life to lose that type of weight and to come up short again would be so devastating. It would take an incredible amount of courage to attempt it, and to come up short would just be so devastating.
“I doubt he’d put himself through that for a third time.”
Does he really mean that, or is he simply looking for Cormier to take the bait? Only time will tell.
Jones also weighed in on Cormier’s upcoming heavyweight title rematch with former world champ Stipe Miocic, saying that he believes ‘DC’ will get the job done for a second time against the record-breaking former champion at UFC 241.
“I think Stipe will put up a better fight, but I do think DC will win again,” Jones admitted.
“DC’s an extraordinary athlete. His flexibility and his speed for the way he’s built doesn’t really make sense. Even his endurance, the way he’s built, he’s a special athlete.
“I don’t think most guys would beat DC. I think the way you beat DC is just to catch him with a knockout shot, which Stipe has the power to do. The question is, can he land it?
“I think DC’s smart and he’s going to use his wrestling and wit to find a way to win again. And then he’ll retire or fight at heavyweight again. He’s definitely never coming back to light-heavyweight.”
Despite saying he won’t face Cormier for the heavyweight title, Jones did say his long-term plan does involve a move up to the UFC’s biggest weight class, but not until he has had a few more fights first.
“I’m thinking at least three more,” he said.
“The UFC’s been whispering after Thiago Santos, Luke Rockhold possibly, and then I’d imagine Johnny Walker’s going to be in that mix, as well.
“So I think I’ve got three really tough fights ahead of me before moving up.”