Updated April 1, 4:15 PM CT
Daniel Cormier stays on UFC 200 vs. ex-middleweight champion Anderson Silva in non-title fight
By: Matt Erickson and John Morgan | July 7, 2016 11:55 pm
LAS VEGAS – Daniel Cormier will fight at UFC 200 after all, and he’ll go from fighting one all-time pound-for-pound great to another. Light heavyweight champion Cormier (17-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) was left without an opponent for the UFC 200 main event late Wednesday when interim champ Jon Jones (22-1 MMA, 16-1 UFC) was pulled from the headliner after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency notified him and the UFC of a potential anti-doping violation stemming from a June 16 test.
Now, on two days’ notice, former longtime middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva (33-7 MMA, 16-3 UFC) will fight Cormier on the card. The fight will take place at 205 pounds, but Cormier’s light heavyweight title will not be on the line.
Other shuffling took place with the new fight. The heavyweight co-main event between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt was elevated to main event status – but only stayed there for about 24 hours. Now, the women’s bantamweight title fight between Miesha Tate and challenger Amanda Nunes is the headliner, and Lesnar-Hunt is back to the co-feature slot. That puts Cormier vs. Silva in the featured bout position in the middle of the main card.
UFC 200 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
While Jones has not yet been suspended, he is facing a two-year ban for his potential failed test. The fighter’s manager today said the camp will have Jones’ “B” sample tested. But if that result also is positive, Jones could be shelved until 2018.
Ironically, Cormier now will fight Silva – who earlier this year returned from a one-year suspension for a failed drug test following a win over Nick Diaz at UFC 183. In his return, Silva lost a decision to Michael Bisping in London, and Bisping went on to win the middleweight title with a first-round knockout of Luke Rockhold a month ago at UFC 199.
Silva was supposed to return at UFC 198 in May in his native Brazil, but gall bladder surgery forced him out of a fight against Uriah Hall just days before the event.
Silva will be looking for his first win in nearly four years. His most recent victory came in a light heavyweight non-title fight against Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153 in Brazil while he still was middleweight champion. (Bonnar tested positive for steroids after the loss.) After that, he was knocked out by Chris Weidman to lose his title at UFC 162, then suffered a gruesome broken leg TKO loss in their rematch at UFC 168.
His win over Diaz was overturned to a no-contest after his positive test and suspension, and then came the loss to Bisping earlier this year.
Cormier and Jones have developed into one of the most bitter rivalries in MMA history. In early 2015, then-champ Jones defeated Cormier by unanimous decision for a UFC-record eighth consecutive light-heavyweight title defense. That came on the heels of an incident that had them brawling in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino after a news conference the previous fall.
However, when Jones was arrested following an April 2015 hit-and-run accident, he was stripped of the belt. Cormier then won the vacant title with a submission of Anthony Johnson, and he defended it with split-decision victory over Alexander Gustafsson this past October.
Jones and Cormier were then expected to finally rematch at UFC 197 in April. However, Cormier was forced off the card with a foot injury, and Jones, who returned from a 15-month layoff, instead fought and defeated Ovince Saint Preux – convincingly, but not with his usual dominance – to claim the interim belt.
But now a rematch between the two appears to be a long shot, at best. The good news for Cormier, though, is that the preparation he did for the biggest fight of his career this week won’t be all for naught.
The UFC 200 lineup now includes: MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Champ Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes – for women’s bantamweight title
Mark Hunt vs. Brock Lesnar
Daniel Cormier vs. Anderson Silva
Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar – for interim featherweight title
Travis Browne vs. Cain Velasquez
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET)
Julianna Pena vs. Cat Zingano
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Johny Hendricks
Raphael Assuncao vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Enrique Marin vs. Sage Northcutt
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Joe Lauzon vs. Diego Sanchez
Gegard Mousasi vs. Thiago “Marreta” Santos
Takanori Gomi vs. Jim Miller
Full story from MMA Junkie HERE
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