During a recent “UFC Embedded” video blog, we saw Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta meet with Jon Jones‘s manager in order to lock down a rematch between Jones and top light-heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson. That footage was filmed two weeks ago, and so far, no progress has been made on the fight. Jones’s camp has refused to sign for undisclosed reasons, which probably have to do with money, timing, or both. Luckily, Daniel Cormier has figured out a solution to this stalemate:
“I know this will probably be unpopular,” Cormier told Franklin McNeil of SportsWorldNews.com. “But if [Jones] won’t sign, whether it be for money or a lack of wanting to fight the kid, I’ll fight Alexander Gustafsson. But it should be for the interim title…If they’re putting a belt on the line, I don’t care what date it is. It was never about Jones, I just want the title. Besides, it’ll work out better for [Jones]; he won’t have to fight both of us.”
Keep in mind that Cormier’s knee is a giant question mark right now, which puts his interim title fight suggestion squarely into “just sayin’ stuff” territory. Plus, the UFC usually creates interim titles as a last resort — not a couple months after a healthy champion’s last defense. Furthermore, Cormier’s tongue-in-cheek line that Jones wouldn’t have to fight both DC and Gustafsson is probably the best reason why the UFC wouldn’t pursue this plan.
For once, the UFC has two marketable challengers lined up to throw at their longtime light-heavyweight ruler; that’s two great opportunities to haul in a ton of revenue from pay-per-view buys and ticket sales. Why would they eliminate one of those fights, when so few big-money matchups are on the horizon?
We appreciate Cormier’s moxie, but there’s no way this happens. Unless it does, of course. For better or worse, anything can happen in this crazy sport.
UPDATE: According to Dana White — who isn’t what you’d call a reliable narrator, but bear with us — Jones wants to fight Cormier instead of Gustafsson:
“Just to clear up a couple things, people think we’re in contract negotiations with Jon Jones — we’re not. Jon Jones still has five fights left on his contract,” White said Monday afternoon in an exclusive interview with UFC.com. “So what we’re doing right now is trying to get him to sign the bout agreement for Gustafsson. He doesn’t want to fight Gustafsson. … Lorenzo and I have a meeting with Jones on Thursday to get him to sign the bout agreement, and he’s asking to fight Cormier instead.” …White said if Jones doesn’t sign the contract, who knows, Cormier vs. Gustafsson could be the move.
Stay tuned for the inevitable Instagram video of Jones mocking fans who think he’s ducking Gustafsson.