Jon Jones fights Daniel Cormier for the light-heavyweight championship at UFC 200.
The new headliner replaces the scrapped Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz main event. McGregor tweeted earlier this week that the UFC put the Diaz rematch back on the card. But a befuddled Dana White explained that the Irishman would not fight at the promotion’s annual summer spectacular because of missed promotional events.
Jones-Cormier joins two other title tilts on the card. Miesha Tate defends the women’s bantamweight belt against Amanda Nunes and Jose Aldo battles Frankie Edgar for the interim featherweight title.
Jones and Cormier fought in January 2015. In that bout, the challenger dominated Bones in the second round but soon lost his momentum. The champion predictably utilized not only his length and unorthodox striking, but his wrestling and clinch-game against the more powerful former Olympic wrestler to impressively win a unanimous 49-46 decision that left Cormier crying on the way to the locker room.
The pair enter the octagon with a river of bad blood flowing between them. Jones instigated a press-conference brawl in the lead up to their first fight and, when they eventually scrapped after injury delays, offered Cormier a crotch chop gesture to conclude the war. Cormier, for his part, hit Jones after the bell to elicit the vulgar gesture. When Breitbart Sports asked Cormier about his rival last fall, he sharply responded: “I could really give a $#!+ about Jon Jones.”
Jones carries the interim light-heavyweight belt into the bought with Cormier, who holds the legitimate title that Jones forfeited by losing to life outside of the cage after never legitimately losing in the cage, on July 9 at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I didn’t look at this fight as a warm-up fight, but I needed this fight before I fight for the championship,” Jones said in gaining the interim tag in a lackluster but convincing victory over Ovince St. Preux on Saturday. “I’ll probably be back at practice on Tuesday and I’m excited to fight Daniel Cormier.”