SPORTS

Champion Jon Jones, challenger Daniel Cormier calm ahead of UFC 182 storm

12/30/2014 09:49 EST | Updated 03/01/2015 05:59 EST
After months of invective, light-heavyweight champion Jon (Bones) Jones and challenger Daniel (DC) Cormier have gone calm ahead of their UFC 182 storm Saturday night.

There were no insults on a media conference call between the 205-pound mixed martial arts stars, who came to blows at an August news conference in the lobby of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

"In terms of the heat between us, I don't think that's gone anywhere. I just think now you see two guys that are only six days from fighting. Like what's the point of us yelling and screaming at each other anymore?" Cormier said on the call Monday evening. "That's done ... There's no point to that any more. What's it going to do?

"All the arguing, all the yelling, all the name-calling, it motivated me during my training. What's the point in it any more? It serves no more purpose."

Added Jones: "The fight is here. There's nothing that can be said or anything to change the outcome of this fight. The work is done. The camp is over. And for me to sit here and be unprofessional and try to insult him and come at him and get in this bickering match to sell a few more pay-per-views, I don't need to, I don't need it."

"The fight's going to sell and the work's already been done. There's a time and place for everything and all the beef and all the craziness was appropriate then. It motivated me, I'm sure it motivated him to have great camps. Now the fight is here."

The Nevada State Athletic Commission fined Jones US$50,000 and Cormier $9,000 for the Aug. 4 brawl that sent bodies flying after the two fighters clashed during a photo op.

Jones (20-1) was ordered to serve four days of community service while Cormier (15-0) was given two days.

The taller champion put his forehead on Cormier's face, prompting the challenger to shove him back and soon the backdrop and bodies were flying.

The ill feelings continued later that day as the two fighters, from separate rooms at the UFC office, exchanged insults over a satellite feed after an ESPN interview.

"I wish they would let me next door so I could spit in your face," Cormier, adding an F-bomb, said after the two traded insults.

"You know I would absolutely kill you if you ever did something like that," replied Jones.

"You could never kill me," Cormier responded.

"I bet you I could," said Jones.

"Then you should try, Jon," Cormier countered.

The UFC detailed all the darts and arrows in a special advance TV show on UFC 182 called "Bad Blood."

The two fighters have had to wait to face off in the cage. They were originally slated to meet at UFC 178 in September but the bout was pushed back to January after Jones suffered a leg injury during training.

Cormier, 35, says their beef dates years back to when Jones disrespected him in their first meeting. Jones, 27, disputes the recollection but at this stage, it hardly matters.

The two don't like each other and that sells in the high testosterone, occasionally cartoon-like world of the UFC.

They have gone at it since the fight was originally announced in July, with Cormier replacing injured No. 1 contender Alexander (The Mauler) Gustafsson after the Swede was sidelined by a knee injury. Jones had defeated Gustafsson in an epic five-rounder at UFC 163 in Toronto in September 2013.

In the wake of their fight announcement, Jones sent Cormier a "I hope you're ready to come to daddy'' message on social media. Cormier replied via Twitter: "I am. I'm going to (mess) you up'' with an F-bomb thrown in for good measure.

Cormier also was quick to talk up his "Break Bones'' T-shirts.

Tweeted Jones: "This is the fight I wanted in the first place. Nothing like fresh meat #Champion2014''

Jones' young daughter even got into the act, via an Instagram video.

"DC. My dad's going to beat you up. Guaranteed,'' said the six-year-old.

For Jones, Saturday marks the eighth defence of the light-heavyweight title he won from Mauricio (Shogun) Rua at UFC 128 in March 2011 to become the UFC's youngest champion at 23. Jones, an immense physical puzzle at six foot four with an 84-inch reach, has since defeated Quinton (Rampage) Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira.

Cormier, ranked second among UFC light-heavyweight contenders, is a former Olympic wrestler who finished fourth at the 2004 Games in Athens.

The five-foot-11 Cormier, a former heavyweight, has won four straight since joining the UFC from Strikeforce where he was heavyweight Grand Prix champion. He has out-struck every UFC or Strikeforce opponent he has faced but this time will have to wade through Jones' 12-inch reach advantage to get at the champion.

Jones is currently ranked No. 1 in the UFC's pound-for-pound pantheon. Cormier is No. 14. Every fighter between is a current or former champion.

So will the fighters bury the hatchet Saturday in Sin City?

"You know you gain a level of respect by sharing the Octagon with someone," said Cormier. "I don't know what's going to happen after the fight. It doesn't really matter to me one way or the other."

Said Jones: "Every guy I've beat, I've had a pretty solid relationship with. I'm cordial and they're cordial. I just kind of go on about my merry life."

The bookies have Jones as less than a 2-1 favourite.

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