Hyped by a mountain of mud-slinging and a media day brawl, Daniel Cormier will finally have his chance to face light heavyweight champion and rival Jon “Bones” Jones at UFC 182. A media day conference call caught up with the Olympic wrestler and the natural talent today on fight week.
Media: Do you allow the thought in your head of what happens if you lose this fight?
Cormier: I won’t even accept that as my reality. I haven’t thought about that.
Media: But you do train for worst case-scenarios, would that be fair to say?
Cormier: You prepare for adversity, but how do you really prepare yourself to get knocked down or to be stuck in a submission outside of what you do day-to-day? I don’t think I’ve really thought about that. You really have to stay positive when you’re training for something so big.
Jones: No, absolutely not. I focus on victory in everything that I do.
Media: Given all the talk and bad blood going into this fight, do you think it’s possible to bury the hatchet Saturday night? Do you think you think you’ll shake hands afterwards and repair the relationship?
Cormier: You gain a level of respect by sharing the octagon with someone, I don’t know what’s gonna happen after the fight. It doesn’t really matter one way or the other to me honestly.
Jones: Every guy I’ve beat, I’ve had a pretty solid relationship with. I’m cordial and I just kind of go on about my merry life.
Media: I was discussing the idea with several martial artists and most agreed that if Cormier managed to close the distance, he has a great chance to win. But the thing is, Daniel hasn’t fought the type of fighter that Jones is with his range and crafty combinations and striking. What do you think about that assessment?
Cormier: There’s no one way for anyone to win a fight. I think people are kind of getting very narrow-minded in terms of how this fight can play out as far as how one guy has to win. There’s no one set way how I have to win this fight. If I don’t secure takedowns, that does not mean I can’t win this fight. I think we need to look at it a little broader instead of being narrow-minded.
Jones: I love the fact that people assume that if Daniel takes me down, he wins the fight. I love how people assume that he needs to get close to me, then I’ll suddenly be at some kind of disadvantage. Honestly, I’m so secure in my abilities as a fighter in the clinch, my dirty boxing, my jiu-jitsu, my top game, my bottom game, my wrestling–I have no insecurities when it comes to my skill set. Rashad Evans said, “To beat Jon, you gotta get in his chest.” I’m like okay, with me knowing that, you think I’m not preparing anything close range? I just find the whole thing very fascinating.
Media: It’s pretty clear from the promotional videos that you guys don’t like each other. What do you like most about your opponent as a fighter?
Cormier: First off, I like a lot of his abilities. I like his creativeness inside of the octagon and his confidence in himself. Any time a person wins as many fights in a row as he has, they deserve a level of respect. At the level that he’s won, it’s hard not to almost admire that to a degree. There’s a number of things I like about him inside of the cage.
Jones: I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s anything I like about him. I do respect that he’s able to use his frame so successfully. Being a shorter and thicker guy when you look at him, his body type doesn’t scream athlete, but he’s been able to do some amazing things both in the sport of wrestling and in his MMA career. I think he can be somewhat of an inspiration to people who are built like him and it proves that you can do great things. It’s a matter of mindset and how you use your body.
Catch UFC 182 on Saturday on pay per view at 10 PM/7 PM ET PT