UFC: Cormier Opens Up On Jones Retirement Talk And McGregor vs Silva
Former two time UFC champion Daniel Cormier believes that Jon Jones is serious about retirement. ‘Bones’ announced that he would vacate the light heavyweight title, following failed negotiations with Dana White for a heavyweight bout with Francis Ngannou.
Failed Jones Negotiations
Jones has been very vocal about the UFC’s unwillingness to negotiate and compared his salary to that of Deontay Wilder, who reportedly earned $30,000,000 for his second fight with Tyson Fury. Speaking to ESPN (transcribed by MMA Fighting), Cormier said that his long time rival might be serious about leaving the company.
“I believe that he is more serious about walking away because in all those times that he was suspended and hurt and all that other stuff – gone – he kinda learned to live without that belt. For a long time he held the belt that when he lost the belt the first time, he probably thought his world was ending. But then he was gone for two years and life probably didn’t seem all that different. So he’s probably looking at life right now and understanding that, ‘if I walk away from this belt, is my life really gonna change all that much?’ I think that gives him comfort, and being able to say the things that he’s saying. So I think to a degree he does believe, I do believe, that he’s serious.”
The UFC Is Less Reliant On Individuals
Jones’ departure would be a huge loss for the UFC. Although, deals with ESPN and a stacked lightweight and welterweight division have made the company less reliant on individual athletes for income. Regardless of the broader situation, DC believes that Jones could also be using this public outburst to assist him with future negotiations.
“You’ve got egos, right? Both of these guys have big egos. Not many people stand up to Dana White in this way and Jon Jones feels as though he’s so valuable that Dana White shouldn’t stand up to him in that way. I feel like anytime – it’s more public than normal, but if you think negotiations in football, baseball, basketball don’t resemble this, ‘Well I’m walking away,’ and then they come back to the table, ‘Well I’m walking away,’ and then they come back to the table, you’re insane. It happens at every level in every single sport, just not as publicly. It’s hidden behind a whole bunch of beautiful words.
“I won the belt in 2015. I got me a good contract and I told Dana and Lorenzo, ‘I don’t plan on losing the belt but if I do, at least make my pay 300 grand. Remember when former champions used to make $300,000 and it was a pretty good contract? That’s my contract today! $300,000 as the challenger, because luckily for me, I never lost that belt, so I had the same contract making all that money from 2015 to 2019. So when it’s time for me to go and negotiate my fight purse for Stipe Miocic, you think today I want to make $300,000 to fight? No. Do you think I’m gonna make $300,000 to fight? No. I’m gonna talk to them and we’ve had beginning conversations, and they’re going to take care of you, it’s just a matter of how you approach the conversation.”
‘The UFC Would Pay $7-8 million’
Dana originally took a firm stance in the debate but has recently revealed that he is willing to resolve things with Jones once tempers have died down.
“I am almost 100 percent certain that the UFC would pay a $7-8 million base for him to go fight Francis, and if he’s such a big star and it’s going to do so well, then maybe the pay-per-view will get you to the number that you want it to be. If it has as much intrigue as people are saying it does. And then that’s on the fans. It’s on the fans who are supporting you in this fight to go out and purchase the fight and when they do, now you make all the money that you need. That’s how I feel.”
The topic of fighters pay has been hotly discussed in recent weeks. Henry Cejudo listed it as a factor in his decision to retire and Mark Hunt has ran an on-going campaign against the UFC, despite being one of the company’s highest paid competitors.
Cormier Is Excited For Silva vs McGregor
Moving on, Cormier expressed his interest in the rumoured matchup between Conor McGregor and Anderson Silva (as transcribed by BJPenn.com). With the 155lbs and 170lbs belts tied up for now, DC believes that this fight would be perfect for everyone involved.
“If there is nobody else for Conor to fight, yeah I’d watch it,” Cormier stated. “I’d absolutely watch it. If everybody else is matched up, why not? Here’s the deal, people all want to have a problem with everything. First off, Conor vs Khabib, he doesn’t deserve a title fight he needs to fight Justin [Gaethje]. Okay, [then it is] don’t let him fight Justin because Justin deserves a title fight. So now he is on the outside of 155, sure. He wants to go to 170, oh he doesn’t deserve a title fight against Usman. We don’t want to see him fight Masvidal because it’s a bad matchup and Masvidal needs to fight Usman. Okay, so he is out. Diaz? Oh, no we are not interested in the Diaz fight, so he is on an island he is out. Let him fight Anderson Silva, why does it matter?
“If everybody has a problem with everything and you don’t want him in a meaningful fight, you don’t think he has done enough to re-earn a title fight, let him fight Anderson Silva. That’s fine, I’ll watch it 100 percent. It’s funky of course because Anderson has been so big for so long. But, hey if that’s where he would have to go to get a big fight, and it would be a big fight.”
McGregor Would Out-Sell Jones
Cormier is certain that the fight would outsell a matchup between Jones and Ngannou. McGregor has headlined three of the UFC’s top five grossing events and a meeting with ‘The Spider’ would certainly be a top seller.
“It’s a bigger fight than Ngannou vs Jones. Not competitively, or it doesn’t look competitively on paper but when you put that name, Anderson Silva across from Conor McGregor, that fight is going to sell more pay-per-views than Ngannou vs Jones.”
Do you think that Jon Jones is serious about retirement? And how big would a Conor McGregor vs Jon Jones fight be?