Even in defeat, defeat to a once-in-a-lifetime rival, Daniel Cormier exudes class.
On Saturday, Daniel Cormier lost his Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight crown to Jon Jones. Jones' stoppage came courtesy of a third-round head kick and the follow-up punches. Most onlookers felt as though referee “Big” John McCarthy gave Cormier every feasible latitude to recover from Jones' barrage of strikes, but the American Kickboxing Academy team captain certainly didn't convey as much on fight night at UFC 214, arguing with the esteemed referee over the stoppage.
Less than 24 hours removed from the bout, Cormier had a different line for his overseeing official, as well as his victorious rival.
“First off, thank you all for the kind words. I have felt the support. Congratulations to Jon Jones and his team,” Cormier wrote on Instagram. “They did a phenomenal job and got the victory. Also, to Big John McCarthy, I would like to apologize for acting up with you. I am thankful for the time you gave me to try and defend myself and stay in the fight. You are the best in the business for a reason.”
Cormier, 38, had reigned as UFC 205-pound king since acquiring the vacant crown at UFC 187 over Anthony Johnson in May 2015. The Jones defeat was just the second loss of his pro MMA career; “Bones” previously defeated Cormier at UFC 182 in January 2015 to retain his UFC light heavyweight title, prior to being stripped.
Earlier on Sunday evening, McCarthy himself was critical of his own stoppage, but in the opposite sense of what Cormier had wanted on Saturday evening.
“I have watched the fight 2 many times & believe I should have stopped the fight 2 punches earlier. But I don't get 2nd chances,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter.
Cormier's statement in full follows below:
First off, thank you all for the kind words. I have felt the support. Congratulations to Jon Jones and his team. They did a phenomenal job and got the victory. Also, to Big John McCarthy, I would like to apologize for acting up with you. I am thankful for the time you gave me to try and defend myself and stay in the fight. You are the best in the business for a reason. I also wanna thank my team and my coaches. I love you all from the bottom of my heart. Your time and energy is greatly appreciated. You guys did a wonderful job, I was ready. It's a fist fight and things happen. Dana White and the @ufc, thank you for being the premiere organization in all of MMA. Again, congrats to Team Jones and JacksonWink. Love you all. I'll see you soon.