Daniel Cormier wants to be remembered as ‘the greatest of all time’

Daniel Cormier understands just how important beating Jon Jones at UFC 214 will be for his legacy.

If not the one loss he suffered to Jones in 2015, Cormier would be undefeated in his career with a long string of victories at both heavyweight and light heavyweight while most recently reigning as champion in the UFC.

Unfortunately that blemish on his record has put Cormier squarely in second place behind Jones in the discussion as the best fighter to ever compete at 205 pounds so he’s not lost on what it means to win in their rematch on Saturday night.

In fact, Cormier says that getting revenge for his only career loss isn’t enough because he doesn’t want to just be known as the guy who finally defeated Jones inside the Octagon. Cormier wants that win to signify something much, much bigger when it comes to his legacy in the sport.

“It’s big for my legacy. Every fight is big for my legacy but because he beat me, this one is big for my legacy,” Cormier said. “I’ve said this time and time again, after this win I don’t want to be considered the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. I want to be the best fighter to ever step into the Octagon and I don’t see why I’m not in the conversation after I beat Jon Jones.

“I should be in the conversation for the greatest of all time once I beat Jon Jones on July 29.”

It’s hard to argue against Cormier’s logic considering the resume he’s put together throughout his career that started in Strikeforce before transitioning to the UFC.

Right now, Cormier is already in the conversation as one of the best light heavyweight fighters of all time and he knows that’s a legendary list with Hall of Famers like Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture already cemented as all time greats in the UFC.

Just recently, Cormier received some backlash for candidly stating that he believed his rematch with Jones was pitting the two greatest light heavyweight fighters in history against each other, which meant he had already surpassed that laundry list of legendary fighters.

Cormier doubled down on that comment leading into UFC 214 but also reiterated that there will be a day when the next generation of fighters pass him by as well because that’s how athletic competitions will always work from now until forever.

“I think sometimes people misinterpret or put things out the way they want to see it. I don’t disrespect Chuck Liddell or “Shogun” Rua or Wanderlei Silva, the greats that came before us. I just think that with time, the game has evolved and we are now the best two fighters that have ever fought in this division,” Cormier said.

“Now, in 20 years there will probably be people that are better than [Jones] and I, that’s just the way sports work. No disrespect to anyone that came before but there are going to be people after us that will be better, too.”

Before he can tap into the talk about becoming the greatest fighter of all time, Cormier has to get past Jones this weekend and that’s certainly no easy task.

Jones has been a force of nature throughout his career while racking up wins against a slew of Hall of Fame fighters including five current or former UFC champions. He’s rarely been tested inside the Octagon but he’s also returning to action after only having one fight in the past two years.

If there’s been one knock on Jones it’s been his activity outside the cage where he’s been mired in personal and professional issues including a hit-and-run accident that cost him the light heavyweight title as well as testing positive for a banned substance last year that forced him out of his originally scheduled rematch with Cormier.

Now Jones has stated numerous times that he’s cleaned up his life and he’s now the best he’s ever been ahead of UFC 214. Cormier hopes that’s true because he wants to face Jones at the peak of his physical condition, but he won’t know if that’s possible until they step into the Octagon together on Saturday night.

“I want the very best Jon Jones. I want him to be better than he’s ever been,” Cormier said. “I hope I get that because I believe I beat that. Now you age yourself when you live like that. So he may only be 30 in real years but we don’t know that the amount of partying this guy was actually doing. We don’t know how hard he was actually going.

“Because you age yourself when you live hard like that. From all the signs, he was living pretty hard.”

Cormier has also slung accusations about performance enhancing drug use at Jones for the past few months leading into the fight. Jones has even admitted that Cormier’s jabs about alleged steroid abuse have gotten to him in the lead up to the fight and that’s only fueled the light heavyweight champion’s constant attacks.

Cormier can’t be certain that anyone he fights is completely clean and free of banned substances but for all his suspicions about Jones, he believes this will be the most level playing field possible when they meet on Saturday night.

“I’ve said time and time again and I’ve gone on the record saying this, if a guy was willing to do some of the negative things that he did, he was obviously going to do positive things to enhance himself. What we saw with Ovince Saint-Preux is what he is now because of USADA,” Cormier said.

“I do believe with the testing that we are dealing with now he will be clean or if not clean, cleaner than he’s ever been.”

Cormier will finally get the opportunity to back up his words when he steps into the cage with Jones at UFC 214 in one of the most highly anticipated fights of 2017.

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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.