Alexander Gustafsson’s unexpected exit from his highly anticipated rematch with Jon Jones at UFC 178 left a huge void in the MMA universe, which was quickly filled with the announcement that Daniel Cormier would be stepping in as a replacement.
It was announced Wednesday that the No. 1 contender from Sweden was forced to withdraw from the title bout after suffering a torn meniscus in his knee during training.
The UFC did not delay its response, keeping the fight card intact by granting a shot to the next man in line. While Jones harbors no hard feelings toward Gustafsson, the bout with Cormier is truly the one he wanted all along. The rematch with Gustafsson was nothing more than a gift to fans still beaming with infatuation over the epic light heavyweight title tilt back in September 2013.
This is the fight I wanted in the first place. Nothing like fresh meat #Champion2014— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) July 24, 2014
After the fight was announced, Cormier posted a photo on Instagram of a direct message sent to him on Twitter by Jones. Along with revealing his new “Break Bones” T-shirt, the undefeated Olympian had some choice words for the reigning UFC light heavyweight champ (note: NSFW language):
The social media mind games don’t stop there.
Jones responded to Cormier’s comments by posting a video on Instagram of his adorable daughter guaranteeing he was going to beat up DC at UFC 178:
The ever-growing beef between Jones and Cormier should set the stage for perhaps an even more exciting main event than originally planned.
In an interview last year with MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani, Jones explained that his feud with Cormier stems from an earlier meeting between the two. According to Jones, he didn’t know who Cormier was at the time and joked that he could take down the Olympian in wrestling. It appeared to be a simple case of a personality clash and two men not seeing eye to eye.
Even when Cormier competed at heavyweight, the fighters would trade verbal jabs from time to time, teasing fans with the possibility of a future fight.
The time for teasing has now come to an end. On September 27, Jones and Cormier will finally step into the Octagon to settle things once and for all.
Let the mind games begin.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.