Daniel "DC" Cormier - Photo by Mazdak Cavian/MMAnytt

Daniel Cormier to Jon Jones: ‘We don’t have to be friends’

It’s never going to be easy for Daniel Cormier to talk about his third round knockout loss to Jon Jones at UFC 214, but each passing day makes it a little more tolerable.

Cormier suffered the loss after one of the most bitter rivalries in UFC history after he engaged in a war with Jones both physically and mentally for the past three years.

Following their fight at the end of July, Jones left behind his intense hatred for Cormier and instead opted to honor the former champion as a worthy opponent and role model for other fighters coming up in the sport.

In the weeks since then, Jones has continued to pay tribute to Cormier and even went as far as saying that he hopes they could one day even call each other friends.

For his part, Cormier feels that Jones believes what he’s saying and this isn’t some kind of act for the sake of the cameras catching him in a moment of humility after a humongous win. Instead, Cormier can honestly say that it appears Jones has turned over a new leaf while putting their rivalry behind him.

That said, Cormier still can’t quite find a way to call Jones a friend, especially considering his goal to eventually find his way back into the Octagon with him again one day.

“I believe he’s being genuine. Yes, I do believe he’s trying to turn over a new leaf,” Cormier said on the most recent “UFC Tonight”. “I think he’s trying to show that he is a different person than he was in the past. With that being said, friendship would be very difficult for us to achieve because of our history. I’m OK with that. I’ve always said that. We don’t have to be friends.

“I have always respected him for the competitor that he is. I even congratulate him for getting the job done on July 29. In terms of going forward, we will be professional because we have to until the cage door closes again.”

While the pain from the loss to Jones will certainly sting for a while, Cormier has committed to returning to the Octagon at some point in the future.

Cormier has mentioned possible matchups at both light heavyweight and even heavyweight, but for now he’s just going to relax, spend some time with his family and then focus on the next move in his career.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.