It’s been almost two years since Daniel Cormier retired from fighting, yet there are still some things that don’t sit right with him.
The former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion is not 100 percent at peace with his two losses to heated rival Jon Jones. Both Cormier and Jones fought in light heavyweight championship bouts in 2015 and 2017 – they were two of the biggest bouts of their era.
Jones failed drug tests in the years of their rivalry – once in 2016 for estrogen blockers clomiphene and letrozole and the other for the steroid turinabol in 2017 in Jones’ second win over Cormier, which was later overturned to a no contest due to the failed test.
“He beats me, gets suspended for the first time,” Cormier said on The Pivot Podcast. “Next time, steroids, failed. Next time, steroids, failed. It’s like every time we fight, and you get suspended, if we go through the interaction, and you won the fight, that memory does not disappear.”
“Even though they said it’s a no contest, (they) saw (me) lose. It’s the truth. All he gets is time. Jon Jones even then was making probably $5 million. So Jon Jones, 2017, fights me in Anaheim, wins the fight, gets that ‘and new champion’ from beating me. (Afterward) they find out he tests positive for steroids. They say, ‘Oh man, he’s suspended for 18 months.’ Now you get 18 months, (but) you still got your money. And you’re still only 25, 26 years old. I’m 37, 38 years old. You’re 27, and you get a year off. It’s horrible, but it’s easy for him to say water under the bridge. But for me, it’s like, ‘Man, you did some stuff to my career that never let me settle, because now I don’t know.’”
Accepting the outcome of the fights isn’t issue for the former champ-champ. The part that sticks with Cormier the most is wondering what the fights would have looked like if Jones competed without testing issues.
“I could know through the fights that maybe this dude is just better than me,” Cormier said. “But I also know that if you’re not doing the things that are boosting you, can you really work to the level that I’m working? … I can’t let it go. He’s a cheater.”
Cormier believes Jones didn’t live up to his potential and he attributes a good chunk of it to the failed drug tests.
“He’s got all these great instincts for fighting, but he just cannot allow himself to be as great as he is,” Cormier said. “That’s the one thing about Israel Adesanya that I said: He is becoming everything that everybody thought Jon Jones was going to be, in terms of expanding the box of what a mixed martial arts fighter can be. Because Jones was gonna be the man. If he stayed clean, he would’ve been the man, because people loved him. All athletes loved him and what he did.”