Bitter rivals Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier are at it again.
A title fight between them has yet to be scheduled, but the vitriol is already ratcheting up in advance of an expected summer clash.
Jones reacted to a tweet Cormier sent in response to a fan that asked about his controversial weigh-in before his title defense against Anthony Johnson at UFC 210 last month.
Cormier denied any wrongdoing even though it appeared he may have grabbed a towel in order to float 1.2 pounds and make the limit just moments after missing the mark.
Jones, who called it “one of the dirtiest things (he had) seen in sports,” retweeted Cormier’s denial on Sunday and added his own commentary.
“Man, I can’t wait to pop you in the mouth,” Jones wrote.
Cormier, who has been light heavyweight champion since winning the belt Jones was forced to vacate after a 2015 hit-and-run incident in Albuquerque, New Mexico, immediately fired back.
Cormier attacked the former champ’s alleged illicit drug use, positive drug tests and admitted use of sexual-performance pills that he blamed for a doping violation last year.
“Funny that u would use that word, lol,” Cormier wrote. “‘pop’ like ‘pop’ positive, ‘pop’ a molly, ‘pop’ a cialis. I could go on for days, lol”
Jones gave credit for “finally” tweeting something funny, then made a somewhat profane pun to reference the fact he is the only person to ever beat Cormier in the cage.
The verbal warfare is all fans have for now.
Cormier says a title fight has been offered to Jones for UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, California, and he has publicly encouraged Jones to sign the contract. The champion says he is in charge of the division now and is calling the shots.
Jones has competed just once since retaining the belt with a win over Cormier on Jan. 3, 2015. He briefly returned from a UFC suspension for the legal issues to defeat Ovince Saint-Preux in April 2016, but was suspended again for a violation of the anti-doping policy for an out-of-competition test that came back just days before a scheduled rematch with Cormier in July 2016.
He is eligible to return in early July and Cormier wants the fight right away.
“Take the fight with me, Jon Jones,” Cormier said on Fox Sports 1. “There’re no tuneup fights in the UFC. Try to get your title back. Come meet your boy, ‘DC.’ Get your money. Let’s give people the show.”
For his part, Jones disputes where the negotiations stand.
“Am I going to sign?” he posted Monday on Twitter. “The question is is he going to sign. Love how he made it sound like he’s backing me into a corner.”
Jones and Cormier have feuded for several years, most notably resulting in a 2014 brawl in the lobby of the MGM Grand.
McGregor-Mayweather in limbo
While most of the key players in a potential boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC star Conor McGregor have grown more optimistic in recent weeks, Showtime Sports vice president Stephen Espinoza isn’t feeling the momentum.
During an appearance on Chris Mannix’s podcast, Espinoza questioned how much UFC officials really want the fight to happen despite public comments from UFC president Dana White that he is actively pursuing a deal.
“Talk is talk,” Espinoza said. “I haven’t seen a lot of progress either internally in the deal between the two of them or externally, the deal between that side and this side.
“It’s largely at a standstill. There hasn’t been a ton of progress and I think if they don’t move relatively quickly, people may move on. People may tire of it. But it really is something that needs to happen this year or it probably won’t happen. Floyd’s on 18 months, two solid years come September since he’s fought. He’s still in great shape, but at a certain point, he’s not gonna do it after a while.”
Espinoza added he believes part of the hesitation is fear from the UFC that McGregor could retire after securing such a massive payday, a claim White has repeatedly dismissed as a non-factor in negotiations.
Contact Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.
May 13: UFC 211 (FS1/PPV), Dallas
May 20: Invicta FC 23 (Fight Pass), Kansas City, Missouri
May 28: UFC Fight Night 109 (FS1), Stockholm
June 3: UFC 212 (FS1/PPV), Rio de Janeiro