Daniel Cormier smiled Saturday night, but in his head and his heart he knew there was no escaping the long shadow of Jon Jones.
Win or lose, it will always be there. Even as the UFC’s new light heavyweight champion, Cormier understands the inevitability of a fight with Jones.
This year? Probably not. Next year? Perhaps. Jones, the now-deposed titlist, has a slew of legal problems that need untangling, so for the immediate future, he is on no one’s radar.
But he will always be there as long as Cormier remains at the top of the division. After subduing Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at UFC 187 with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their fight for the vacant light heavyweight title Saturday, Cormier admitted as much.
Even so, a belt is a belt. Jones will always be on his mind, but Cormier (15-1) believes his title is legitimate and above question.
“You see what’s sitting right there?” he said at the post-fight press conference, pointing at the gleaming belt in front of him. “That’s the gold belt. That thing’s reserved for the UFC champion. I didn’t disqualify myself from competition. Jon did. I am the champion. I fought a very tough guy that deserved to be there.”
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images
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