At UFC 182, No. 2 light heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier fought a tough battle against a champion who many believe to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all time: Jon Jones.
Previous to this fight, Cormier was undefeated and had devastated the likes of MMA veterans such as Dan Henderson, Roy Nelson, Frank Mir, Josh Barnett Antonio Silva, and Jeff Monson.
For the two-time Olympian, the loss was upsetting. In an interview with Fox Sports 1, Cormier expressed his thoughts regarding his first defeat.
“It was a tough fight. I think you owe it to yourself to let it burn a little bit, let it hurt, because if you try to move forward too fast, it doesn’t have the effect that you hoped that it has and allow you to rebuild yourself afterwards. So, yeah, it’s been pretty tough, tough for a number of reasons.”
One of those reasons revolved around the tremendous hatred that developed between the two fighters leading up to UFC 182. In fact, a stare down between Cormier and Jones resulted in a full-on brawl in the lobby of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The altercation resulted in a fine and mandatory community service hours for both men.
So, upon entering the Octagon, Cormier and Jones understood the ramifications of a loss to the other man.
In the aftermath, according to MMA Fighting, Cormier critiqued his own performance at UFC 182 and expressed humility in defeat.
“I thought the first round he (Jones) did well, and toward the end of the round I started gaining a little momentum. I thought, second round I won. Third round, I thought I started the round well and didn’t finish it well. Fourth round I took it off, he won that round going away. Then, the fifth round we didn’t do much at all, we kind of hugged each other for five minutes… He won the fight. I know I lost and Jon won, that’s really all it boils down to.”
Even in the disclosure of Jones’ failed drug test due to traces of a cocaine metabolite found in his system, Cormier offered no excuse for his loss during his Fox Sports 1 interview. He responded to Jones’ positive drug test, and commented on the “beacon of light” that Jones could represent for many across the globe.
“He (Jones) won the fight. I didn’t believe by any way shape or form that I won that fight… It’s just very unfortunate that these incidents keep happening after he has these unbelievable performances to where it kills his momentum…but because of the things that he does outside of the Octagon, it holds him back… [I] just wish that he would kind of get it together and be that beacon of light that so many people need in the world right now.”
Moving forward, Cormier’s next opponent has not been named. However, he claimed that the feud between him and Jones would not end until they “stand across the cage from each other again.”