Every sport has rivalries of epic proportions woven into the fabric of its history. These are rivalries that transcend the normal competitive spirit and take on a life of their own. The rivalry between UFC former Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones and current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is that kind of rivalry. From the very beginning, the two fighters have had an intensity that can’t be mimicked or manufactured, and it is as raw and formidable as it gets and it sells a fight like nothing else.

Jon Jones is a man who has something to prove to Cormier, to fight fans, and to himself.

To say Jon Jones has had a tumultuous career would be the understatement of the century. Since he began fighting in the UFC, Jones has experienced several controversies that threatened to derail his career. Jones joined the UFC in 2008 and immediately became a force to be reckoned with. In 2011, Jones became the youngest UFC champion, earning the belt at just 23 years old.

Shortly thereafter, Jones was ranked at the #1 light heavyweight fighter in the world and the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world by various sources worldwide. However, by 2015 things began to take a dark turn and in April Jones had his championship title stripped from him after being involved in a hit and run accident. Jones tried to make a comeback, however, and in October of the same year, he was reinstated only to test positive for banned substances just days before his title bout with Cormier.

Jon Jones has repeatedly pressed that he is the real champion and that Cormier only holds the title because he has been unable to compete. Jones offers the example of their previous battle as evidence, pointing out that he took Cormier down on several occasions and in effect beat the former Olympic wrestler at his own game. Before the last fight, the taunting between the two reached a crescendo that even stunned the media with its ferocity and grit.

Jones had found many fighters before and never been so aggressively angry with them. The fans were delighted, however, and before Jones was pulled it looked like that fight would be one of the biggest pay per views in UFC history. The upcoming battle is projected to be even bigger.

Daniel Cormier has a title to defend and his own something to prove to Jones, fight fans, and himself.

Daniel Cormier is the current UFC light heavyweight champion, a fact he is quick to point out and adamant about defending.

Cormier, like Jones, has had a good career in the UFC, although he has always somewhat stood in the shadow of Jones. Unlike Jones, however, Cormier has walked the line in terms of behavior both outside and inside the cage. Cormier is a dedicated husband and father, along with being a fierce fighter, and popular correspondent for Fox Sports Fight Nights and Fight Night companions. His debut in the UFC came in 2013 against Frank Mir, a bout he won via unanimous decision.

He fought Roy Nelson after that and again won via unanimous decision. Cormier announced after the Nelson fight that he would be moving down to light heavyweight, and from there he began to build a resume of wins utilizing both submissions and knockouts. Cormier became the champion in 2015 after Jones had been stripped of the title in a resulting fight with Anthony Johnson.

From the moment Daniel Cormier won the title, Jon Jones began to taunt that he was not the real champion and Jones would prove it when he could return. When the first title challenge was set up between the two the heat between them rose to a new level as their rivalry grew and the insults were thrown. Jones being pulled from that fight seems to only have made the intensity between the two fighters stronger as each time they meet for a presser they are more aggressive, more passionate, and more than ready to get this party started.

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