The rivalry between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier might never die.

Jones is scheduled to fight Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 on Dec. 29 after serving a reduced 15-month suspension stemming from another failed drug test. His return is controversial, to say the least, and Cormier has been outspoken in his criticism of Jones, who fired back at his longtime rival on Monday’s episode of “First Take” on ESPN.

“What is my reaction to that? Can we swear on this show? Screw Daniel Cormier. Screw Daniel Cormier,” Jones said when asked his response to Cormier’s recent verbal jab. “My last situation was a terrible situation, a steroid allegation type of thing. It wasn’t an allegation — I did have a trace amount of steroids in my body. Thank goodness USADA went through the whole process to prove my innocence. Through science, we were able to prove that there was a very trace amount of steroids in my body. One of the people said, ‘The amount of steroids in Jon’s body was like taking a pinch of salt and throwing it into an Olympic-sized swimming pool.’

“And that’s something that, we have no clue how it got into my body,” he added. “We did everything in our power to figure out how it got into my body, where this came from. I’ve spent thousands of thousands of dollars throughout all of this, testing and getting supplements tested. We were still not able to figure out where it came from.”

Jones defeated Cormier at UFC 182 in January 2015 and then won the fighters’ much-anticipated rematch at UFC 214 in July 2017. The result of the second fight was changed to a no-contest, though, as Jones tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Jones’ return fight against Gustafsson will be for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title, which Cormier lost to Jones at UFC 214 but later retained (due to Jones’ win being overturned) and relinquished (while focusing on defending the UFC heavyweight title). If Jones wins, it’s fair to wonder whether we’ll someday see a trilogy fight between him and Cormier.

Cormier has said he plans to retire by the time he turns 40 next March, but his UFC 182 loss to Jones remains the only blemish on his professional MMA record. Maybe that (and a hefty payday) will be enough for the two UFC stars to meet inside the octagon one more time.

Either way, it’s clear the trash talk isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images