UFC

Daniel Cormier: If Jon Jones Stalls, I'll Fight Gustafsson for Interim Title

Feb 21, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC light heavyweight Daniel Cormier participates in the UFC 170 weigh-in at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
John HeinisSenior Analyst IJune 2, 2014

UFC light heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier is anxiously waiting to see if divisional champion Jon Jones will rematch Alexander Gustafsson, but he isn't content to wait much longer. 

If that highly anticipated matchup isn't going to happen as a result of the champ's contract negotiations (per MMA Fighting), "DC" wants to let Gustafsson know a plan B awaits if need be, per Sports World News.)

"I know this will probably be unpopular, but if [Jones] won't sign, whether it be for money or a lack of wanting to fight the kid, I'll fight Alexander Gustafsson," Cormier said. "But it should be for the interim title...If they're putting a belt on the line, I don't care what date it is. It was never about Jones, I just want the title...Besides, it'll work out better for [Jones]; he won't have to fight both of us."

The former Olympian is undefeated as a professional mixed martial artist, improving to 15-0 last week when he choked Dan Henderson unconscious at UFC 173, in what was a completely one-sided affair. 

A top contender at heavyweight, easily defeating Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva and ex-UFC heavyweight champs Josh Barnett and Frank Mir, Cormier dropped down to 205 pounds in February when he made short work of newcomer Patrick Cummins

While it's impossible to deny the American Kickboxing Academy product is on the short list of light heavyweight title contenders, most pundits would prefer to see Jones vs. Gustafsson II first. 

Their first encounter marked the only time inside the Octagon Jones has truly been tested, with the bloody, brutal, back-and-forth September matchup at UFC 165 almost unanimously receiving "Fight of the Year" honors from MMA media outlets. 

Gustafsson next showed his dominance by easily outstriking previously undefeated prospect Jimi Manuwa at UFC Fight Night 37 in March, finishing him with a knee and barrage of subsequent punches in the second round. 

Meanwhile, Jones dialed in a nearly flawless performance in April, battering Glover Teixeira for five rounds at UFC 172 in April. 

Gustafsson has recently taken to Facebook to try and goad "Bones" into signing up for a rematch, but that tactic hasn't panned out just yet. 

According to the UFC's official rankings, Gustafsson and Cormier are the No. 1 and No. 2 light heavyweight contenders in the world, respectively. 

In the event Jones plans on sitting out for an extended period of time to secure a lucrative UFC deal, would Cormier vs. Gustafsson for the light heavyweight interim title be what the fans want to see?

 

John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA editor for eDraft.com.

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