It’s going to take a lot more than knocking out Patrick Cummins for Daniel Cormier to convince Jon Jones that he’s ready for a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
The former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion has sacrificed everything, including Popeyes chicken, to drop down to 205 pounds. Now that the hard part is over, Cormier is finally in a position to challenge Jones for the light heavyweight title.
There’s no secret that he and Jones have had their share of problems in the past, mostly related to fat jokes and several other Twitter spats. When speaking with Fox Sports, Cormier took the initiative and pushed all of the past drama aside, respectfully asking Jones for a title shot.
“Hey Jon, this is Daniel Cormier — bro, brother, would you be willing to give me a title shot? I'm asking nicely. I'm not being aggressive. I'm not trying to be confrontational, Jon, I'm just asking. Would you be willing to give me a chance to fight? Please, brother, please. Make the decision.”
Cormier’s resume speaks for itself.
The former Olympian boasts an undefeated professional record with lopsided wins over Josh Barnett, Antonio Silva, Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. At UFC 170, he was originally slated to make his light heavyweight debut against former UFC champ Rashad Evans, but plans were scrapped when "Suga" suffered a serious knee injury in training.
Instead, the UFC brought in Cummins, an inexperienced MMA fighter who was working at a local coffee shop in Orange County, California. The 4-0 light heavyweight prospect received his UFC wake-up call after getting trounced by Cormier in just 89 seconds.
Unfortunately for Cormier, his impromptu quickie at UFC 170 didn’t impress Jones. The reigning light heavyweight champ left a message of his own, responding to Cormier’s pleas for a title shot.
"First and foremost, since you're speaking more respectfully, I'll say congratulations on your victory and your weight loss,” Jones told Fox Sports’ Damon Martin. “But as far as giving you a title shot, I have no interest in fighting you right now, only because of the fact that you really haven't fought anyone that I consider a top-level fighter.”
The champ continued:
I'm kind of sick of seeing UFC light heavyweights fight against kind of like 'cans' until they get a title shot. I really want to see a top contender fight a top contender and I think you need to fight someone a little bit more well-known than Patrick Cummins. Fight against Rashad [Evans], fight against somebody legit, man. Then I think it would be a little more appropriate to give you that title shot.
It is widely believed that Alexander Gustafsson is next in line for a title shot if he gets past Jimi Manuwa at UFC Fight Night: London on Saturday. Even if Gustafsson loses, or Jones falls to Glover Teixeira at UFC 172, one has to believe Phil Davis still has a leg up on Cormier in the light heavyweight division as well.
Cormier is without question one of the best fighters in the world, but there was already a line in place at 205 pounds before he got there.
One would be hard-pressed to think that a win over Cummins magically pushes him to the forefront of the title picture.
In a sense, changing weight classes should be considered as starting over. We all know how good Cormier is, but that doesn’t mean he gets to cut in line.