Earlier this year, Jon Jones shocked the MMA world by vacating his light heavyweight title to move up to the heavyweight ranks. As a result, the UFC set up a fight between Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz for the vacant belt, and this past weekend, at UFC 253, Blachowicz knocked out Reyes to become the new 205-pound champion. But almost immediately after Blachowicz won the title, Jones teased a possible return to the light heavyweight division, and longtime Jones rival Daniel Cormier has a theory.
Speaking on ESPN recently, Cormier responded to Jones’ reaction to Blachowicz’ win, saying that by teasing a potential return to 205 after vacating the title only a month after vacating it, Jones was basically admitting he was avoiding Dominick Reyes.
“That’s so whack,” Cormier said. “Have you ever met a guy that’s so out of touch? He’s out of touch. It’s like, OK, Jon, then why not just go, ‘I was afraid of Dominick Reyes. Now I want to go back to 205 and fight Jan Blachowicz because he beat Dom.’ That’s crazy. Why would he do that? I mean, who does that? Who does that?
“He could have fought Reyes. This could have been him and Reyes. This was supposed to be him and Reyes. Instead, he gave up the belt. He gave up the belt and said, ‘I want to fight at heavyweight.’ Now, ‘Maybe, I’ll go back?’ How could you be so out of touch? I don’t get it. . . That’s your boy over there kicking people while they’re down and pretty much admitting, ‘I didn’t want to fight Dominick Reyes but I’ll fight Jan Blachowicz.’ That’s crazy.”
In February, Jones and Reyes fought at UFC 247 in a close bout that a majority observers thought Reyes won. Those observers were not the three judges at cageside though, and Jones was awarded a unanimous decision victory, retaining his belt. In the aftermath, UFC President Dana White said that he too believed Reyes won and felt that a rematch was the next logical step. Jones, however, did not agree, preferring to finally make his move up to heavyweight.
And to Cormier, this all makes sense. Until Saturday, Jan Blachowicz had been almost an afterthought in the light heavyweight division, having lost five times over the course of his six-year UFC career. Now that Blachowicz is the the guy with the belt, that’s a much more appealing opponent than the young, athletic, 205er who arguably beat Jones the first time around. Especially since the attribute that has powered Blachowicz’s late-career title run, his Legendary Polish Power, is something Cormier thinks Jones is well-prepared for.
“If I’m Jones, I’m doing it,” Cormier said. “I’m doing it if I’m Jones. . . Jones beats Blachowicz. (He’s) is too slow to beat (Jones). The thing about Jones that people don’t realize he’s got a good chin. You can hit him. I hit him. A lot of us hit him. He can take punches, man. If Jan Blachowicz is out there and he’s too slow, Jones will pick him apart. God, I can’t believe it.
“Look, if I was still fighting at 205 or if I was still fighting today and you said, ‘D.C., you can fight Jan Blachowicz,’ I’d probably fight Jan Blachowicz. No disrespect, just because I think… it’s surprising, right? When you have the footage of people getting old victories over him, you think you can do it, too. Any fighter does. And if you’re a guy like myself or Jones, then, of course, you think you can beat him. That’s why Jones will go fight him.”
Whether Jones will actually return to light heavyweight is yet to be seen but for the time being, Jan Blachowicz is the king of the mountain, and despite everything Cormier said having an air of disrespect towards the Legendary Polish Power, he’s happy for the new champion.
“I don’t want to fight Blachowicz,” Cormier concluded. “I’m talking hypotheticals. You’re the man, (Jan) and you deserve it. The Polish Powerhouse.”