The highly anticipated rematch between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones has been set.
The UFC announced during a wild summer kickoff news conference on Friday that Cormier will defend his light heavyweight title against Jones at UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim. There were rumors that the two would meet in July once Jones’ one-year suspension from his UFC 200 doping incident had ended. The fight was confirmed in front of a raucous crowd in Dallas one day before UFC 211.
The news conference featured a number of other fight announcements, but none was bigger than the rescheduling of Cormier-Jones. The tension between the two has been thick for several years and bubbled over once again during the news conference. There was a scuffle between the two backstage and the heat carried over into the news conference.
“He never beat me and that belt he has over there is an imaginary belt,” Jones said in the opening minutes of the news conference. Jones was stripped of the title in April 2015 and suspended indefinitely in connection with a hit-and-run incident he was involved in. Cormier — who lost to Jones at UFC 182 in January 2015 — claimed the vacant title by beating Anthony Johnson at UFC 187.
“I messed up on my own,” Jones said. “In order to be the champion, you have to beat the champion. Until he beats me, that belt he has is a piece of [expletive].”
Since claiming the title, Cormier has remained unbeaten with his lone blemish on his record being against Jones. The two have gone at it on social media numerous times and Friday was no different.
“He said he’s back, but is he back? Doesn’t he still have two more months of his suspension left? Are you back, junkie?” Cormier shot back. “You know what’s the beauty about the competitor in me? I already forgot about [the loss] and I’m about to whoop your punk ass.”
Tensions have been running high but Jones and Cormier have only met in the Octagon once. The two were originally supposed to fight back in 2014 but an injury forced Jones out of the fight. They did square off at UFC 182 in April with Jones winning a hard fought unanimous decision. The rematch was scheduled for April 23, 2016 at UFC 197, but a Cormier injury postponed the fight. The light heavyweight clash was again rescheduled for UFC 200, but Jones was flagged by USADA and removed from the card less than three days before the fight was to take place in Las Vegas.
With Jones completing his suspension in July, it appears that all systems are a go for Anaheim in July, barring any unforeseen incidents.