Javier Mendez, the coach for UFC star Daniel Cormier, believes the former two-division champion would delay his retirement for an opportunity at a third fight with Jon Jones.
Mendez spoke with ESPN's Brett Okamoto about the potential of a second straight trilogy fight for Cormier, who's scheduled for a rubber match with Stipe Miocic at UFC 252 next Saturday:
His intense rivalry with Jones will always be mentioned while discussing his terrific career, however, and it's no surprise they're still being linked in the final stages of DC's career.
Cormier told Damon Martin of MMA Fighting the two will never be best friends but that he respects the battles he's had with Jones inside the Octagon.
"I do respect him as a competitor. I never said I didn't," he said. "That's where it gets all confused when they talk about this thing between him and I. I never not respected him as a competitor. It was all the other stuff I had a problem with. I never did that. If you're an honest guy, which I try to think I am, you tell the truth. You can respect a person for their skills. I do respect those skills."
Jones won their first meeting by unanimous decision in January 2015. He knocked out Cormier in a July 2017 rematch, but the result was overturned after he tested positive for a steroid, Turinabol, before the fight.
It seems unlikely Cormier is going to alter his retirement plans, especially if he suffers a second straight loss to Miocic next week that would raise questions about his ability to continue contending for titles.
Perhaps one more clash with Jones is the singular fight that could get him to change his mind. At least Mendez thinks so.