UFC 214 on July 29th is a stacked card featuring three titles: the light heavyweight belt, the welterweight belt, and the women’s featherweight belt. That’s pretty impressive right there, but the event also marks the return of Jon Jones following a year long drug suspension he was hit with days before UFC 200. That in turn was supposed to be his big comeback fight after being stripped of his belt over a hit-and-run incident that nearly landed him in prison.
His scrapped UFC 200 bout was supposed to be against Daniel Cormier, and that was actually the fourth time the two had been booked to fight each other. With this being number five, the two have had years worth of animosity and rivalry building up. But according to Jones, he’s barely paying attention to the fact that he’s returning to face Cormier again.
“This fight to me has nothing to do with Daniel Cormier, it could be anyone,” Jones said during a UFC 214 media conference call. “Anthony Johnson, it could be Anthony. It could be Gustafsson that got the belt in my absence. This fight for me is about my legacy, it always has been. I’ve had big fights with ‘Rampage’ Jackson, who hated me and tried to make me look like a fool. Rashad Evans, we fought for the pride of Jackson’s MMA and the pride of Albuquerque. Chael Sonnen, UFC 151 was a nightmare and then he talked so much trash leading up to The Ultimate Fighter.
“And then DC. I’ve been in this position so many times having a kind of antagonist. And for me, for me, it’s always been about chasing greatness, and that’s what I’m here for. This ‘DC’ chapter is gonna be over on Saturday, and he’s just going to be a part of my legacy. At the end of the day he’s going to be remembered as one of Jon Jones’ great contenders.”
Jones still doesn’t see Cormier as the legitimate light heavyweight champion.
“In my mind, I look at it one way,” Jones said. “In order to consider yourself the baddest motherf*cker that has lived throughout this era, you’ve got to beat the baddest motherf*cker. And he says ‘Well I didn’t have to beat you, you beat yourself.’ And everytime he says that he validates what I’m saying. You just haven’t beat me, you know what I’m saying? You can beat as many people as you want but until you beat ‘the guy,’ then you’re not ‘the guy.'”
Considering Jones showed a lot of ring rust during his last fight in April of 2016, Cormier will have his best opportunity to beat ‘the guy,’ but Jones is a serious force whose only career loss was a DQ for beating on his opponent too hard. It makes for a pretty exciting main event, and the rest of the card is pretty great too. Here’s how it’s looking:
UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones
UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia
Cristiane Justino vs. Tonya Evinger for vacant women’s featherweight title
Donald Cerrone vs. Robbie Lawler
Jimi Manuwa vs. Volkan Oezdemir
Jason Knight vs. Ricardo Lamas
Renan Barao vs. Aljamain Sterling
Renato Moicano vs. Brian Ortega
Andre Fili vs. Calvin Kattar
Alexandra Albu vs. Kailin Curran
Jarred Brooks vs. Eric Shelton
Josh Burkman vs. Drew Dober