From the very beginning of the Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier saga, wrestling has been at the core of their rivalry, and “Bones” has outlined just how much he wanted to out wrestle “DC” at UFC 182.
As you know by now, the whole Jones-Cormier beef kicked off after the UFC light-heavyweight champ told the decorated wrestler a couple of years ago, that he could take him down. Cormier didn’t care for the comment, and yadda, yadda, yadda, the two had their grudge match on Saturday.
While Jones outscored Cormier throughout much of the fight while standing, he also managed to take the former Olympic wrestler down a couple of times. Heading into the fight, Jones repeatedly said that he felt like people were overlooking his wrestling, even though he’s been involved in the sport for much of his life. The outspoken fighter also talked about the fact that much of wrestling community was backing Cormier, and that seemed to bother Jones, considering his extensive, wrestling past.
Well, after UFC 182, Jones returned to this issue once more. While recalling a conversation he had with his wrestling coach, Israel Martinez, here is some of what Jones had to say (quotes via MMA Fighting.com):
“And he said, the whole wrestling community is against you right now. And he said, ‘we have to improve, Jon. We have to show these guys that if you would have went D-1, that you would have been a national wrestling champion. That if you had went for the Olympics, you would have placed at the Olympics. We have to show them that you use the gifts for MMA, not wrestling. Because your dream got cut short, and you had a kid and you had to give up wrestling, doesn’t mean that you can’t wrestle with these great wrestlers.'”
“So, we had a chip on our shoulder,” the 27-year old Jones said. “Our goal was to go out there, have faith in our wrestling to take him down, and to earn the respect from the wrestling community. I applaud the coach for building up my belief and believing in me.”
While chances are most of Cormier’s supporters haven’t become Jones’ fans, considering the comments he’s made since their encounter, they likely do have a new level of respect for the champion’s abilities. Or least they should have. It was definitely one of Jones’ most impressive performances to date.