Former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champion Luke Rockhold believes Jon Jones is avoiding fighting Daniel Cormier at heavyweight as that’s where he feels “DC” has the biggest advantage given his body shape and the fact he’s unbeaten at 265 pounds.
Jones made a successful return to action last month against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 after serving a 15-month suspension which was handed down to him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Jones submitted the Swede in their rematch to reclaim the light heavyweight title that he had never lost in the cage. Jones and Gustafsson were fighting for the belt vacated by Cormier, who expressed his desire to defend his heavyweight title instead.
Jones has met Cormier on two occasions, with the first taking place at UFC 182 in January 2015, with “Bones” emerging victorious by unanimous decision. The rematch took place at UFC 214 in July 2017 where Jones landed a slick head kick to knock Cormier out. However, Jones’ win was overturned later as he tested positive for turinabol.
Now that Jones is back holding the 205-pound belt and Cormier has claimed and defended the heavyweight title, fans have been wondering if the pair will meet for a trilogy bout. Cormier’s teammate Rockhold says Jones doesn’t want to come up a weight division as that is DC’s natural weight class, and the size difference could be a major factor in the result.
“Jones doesn’t want that fight,” Rockhold said. “Jones does not want to fight with ‘DC’ at heavyweight. He doesn’t want to give him any advantage. He’s obviously doing what he can to build his confidence to fight at light heavyweight. We all know he’s tested dirty twice in a row now. Three times? I don’t know what it is, picograms, or whatever the hell they are. He’s obviously compensating trying to do something to build himself up.
“’DC’ at heavyweight is a much more dangerous fighter,” Rockhold added. “He’s looser, he’s moving people. I’ve seen him in the gym. Jones picked his words wisely on the mic UFC 232 trying to bait ‘DC’ to come back down and manipulate him back down to light heavyweight. Jones walks around at 240, ‘DC’ walks around at 240. Fight where you are.”
Rockhold is a former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion and says he’s puzzled as to why Jones has accepted a title defense against the surging Anthony Smith at UFC 235 in March. The 34-year-old believes that Jones should stop talking about fighting Cormier and either move up to heavyweight to face him to prove he’s the best, or stay at 205 pounds and fight someone with Rockhold's pedigree, even volunteering to move up in weight to make it happen.
“You’re the baddest man on the planet? Stop trying to pick off guys like Anthony Smith and stop talking about ‘DC,’ the champ champ,” Rockhold said. “Go up and fight the champ champ where he’s at and where he is the baddest man on the planet. You want to talk about it? Go up there and fight him. Otherwise, stay where you’re at and I’ll come to you.”