Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier ramp up blood feud

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Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier have one of longest-running feuds in the UFC, and arguably the most venomous these days. But for a variety of reasons, they have only met once in the Octagon. MMA fans can only hope that their long-awaited rematch, set for UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, stays on track because the pair is clearly spoiling for a fight.

At the official announcement of Jones-Cormier 2 Friday, the two light heavyweights nearly got into a brawl backstage. Cormier said he smacked Jones in the face with a water bottle after taking offense to something the latter allegedly said about his children.

Eventually, things settled down at which point Jones and Cormier were content to trade insults at the UFC Summer Kickoff news conference in Dallas. Jones called Cormier’s title belt, won after it was stripped from Jones for his role in a 2015 hit-and-run incident, “imaginary” and “a piece of s—.” Cormier returned the favor by describing his longtime rival as a “b—-” and a “junkie.”

Cormier was referring to the fact that Jones tested positive for trace elements of cocaine after defeating Cormier at UFC 182 in January 2015, a result that was allowed to stand. The two were scheduled to square off again at UFC 200 in July 2016, but, just days before, Jones tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, although he denied intentionally cheating.

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Cormier stayed on that card and defeated Anderson Silva, a last-minute replacement, and in April, he defended the title he won in Jones’s absence against Anthony Johnson. Jones, meanwhile, has fought just once since defeating Cormier, gaining a unanimous decision over Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 197 in April 2016, in a match that Cormier dropped out of because of an injury he suffered in training.

The run-up to Jones-Cormier 1, a matchup that itself was delayed by a Jones injury, featured one of the most notorious pre-fight scuffles in UFC history. The two came to blows at a promotional event several months before that fight was to take place, with security at the MGM Grand Garden Arena being forced to intervene.

Since then, Jones and Cormier have rarely missed a chance to insult each other, with social-media exchanges too numerous too count. Recently, Cormier even got into it with a barber from Jones’s home town of Endicott, N.Y. That man, Joe Becker, responded with a video (warning: profanity) in which he and Jones give Cormier the finger.

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jon honesAfter Jones’s failed test derailed what was meant to be the main event at UFC 200, even UFC president Dana White lost faith in the former champion’s reliability. “If Jon Jones is ready to fight on July 29, we’ll see the Jones versus Cormier rematch, finally,” White said in April.

As it was, Jones was unable to confirm Friday that his fight with Cormier would be the main event at UFC 214. That would normally be a no-brainer, but White, who missed the news conference because of illness, is clearly proceeding with caution, a state of affairs that Cormier used to taunt Jones at the news conference.

“So, I’m sitting here, and I see. Like, I see him. He’s over there. But is he really going to be in Anaheim?” Cormier said Friday (via MMA Fighting). “Is this guy really going to go to the fight? Is this guy going to mess this up again by doing steroids, or snorting cocaine or sandblasting prostitutes? What’s this guy going to do to mess this up this time?”

“Prostitutes? I beat you after a weekend of cocaine,” Jones shot back.

“And prostitutes,” replied Cormier.

“I had two great weekends,” answered Jones. “Back-to-back weekends. Cocaine one, your a– the next. It was great. That’s a month for the ages.”

Here’s hoping the rematch does happen, because so far, Jones and Cormier are just one-for-four in terms of their scheduled fights actually taking place. One thing is certain: MMA fans deserve at least one more installment of this exceptionally heated rivalry.

(H/T TMZ Sports)