The video is viral, and the Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier rivalry is real. Today at the beginning of the press conferences in advance of the UFC 178 event scheduled for September 27 in Las Vegas, the two squared up in a shoving match which tore up the entire set for the photo ops. The banter quickly turned to battle as the two were put face to face for the cameras.
Jon Jones claims that he took Cormier down because of an aggressive shove, and Cormier claims that the shove was a result of not wanting Jones touching his forehead. The scuffle ended with Jones on top of Cormier in a crowd of people beside the stage. The set of the press conference was a casualty, as the entire backdrop and just about everything else on the stage was torn down in the scrum. The two took to social media shortly after the event to take advantage of that platform to air their differences and give their take on the much-publicized fight. Spurred on by the two fighters squaring off in print, social media has been abuzz with talk from both the Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier camps. In true UFC fashion, the UFC 178 event has people talking across the country from the very first day of media promotion.
Jon Jones, landing on top and claiming to have gotten the upper hand in the brief but explosive contest, took to Twitter to taunt Cormier quickly. He challenged him, saying that he hoped that Cormier would put up more of a fight when they met in September, and asking him about his takedown defense. Cormier was quick to respond, claiming to have been taunted into the exchange by Jones touching him with his “dirty face,” saying that the only reason he ended up underneath Jones was because he was pulled off of the stage by a supposed five people from behind. The exchange has fueled comments and conversation all over the web from Facebook to YouTube.
Jon Jones is the Light Heavyweight Champion, and much has been made of the decision to add undefeated Daniel Cormier to the card with Alexander Gustafsson unable to fight in light of Jones’ initial refusal to fight Gustafsson because he wanted to fight Cormier. Today’s brawl makes is seem as though Jones is happy with the fact that he got his opponent of choice after all.
Though Cormier claims assistance from the crowd contributing to his takedown at the press event, today is not the first time people have wondered aloud if he would be able to withstand the size and power of Jones when it comes time for their match. To be fair, Cormier has not shown any particular difficulty in any of his heavyweight matches. His record speaks for itself. Winding up on your back in a press conference, however, is a quick way to get the whispers going again. It seems unlikely that this will be the last exchange of this particular rivalry, as neither fighter will want to leave it as is.
Today is just the first day of interviews and press conferences for the event. It seems clear that with tearing up the joint as the opening act, all eyes will be on Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier to see what comes next. Bring on the clowns.
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Commentary By Jim Malone