Jon Jones will fight Daniel Cormier – assuming both fighters recover from respective injuries – in a light heavyweight title unification bout in Las Vegas on July 9 at UFC 200.
Jones v Cormier 2 replaces Connor McGregor v Nate Diaz as the headline fight for UFC 200 after McGregor was removed from the UFC 200 card for no-showing a contractually mandatory promotional appearance earlier this month.
His opponent at UFC 200, Diaz, also backed out of the event saying that he would be going on vacation if he wouldn’t be up against McGregor.
The McGregor saga has overshadowed UFC’s promotional activity for the marquee July event, with McGregor recently tweeting that he would be back for UFC 200 before UFC President Dana White had to issue a clear rebuttal saying that McGregor would not be on the card.
This leaves Jones v Cormier as the headline bout – the fight was originally scheduled for UFC 197 as Jones’ comeback fight but was postponed after Cormier withdrew three weeks prior to the event due to injury.
Cormier is still recovering from his injury and hopes to be fit in time to fight in July. Jones, who won convincingly against Ovince Saint Preux last Saturday, injured his foot during the fight but is also expected to recover in time.
Jones and Cormier have history – they were booked to meet in UFC 178 for Jones’ light heavyweight title and brawled during a press conference promoting the fight. Jones withdrew from the fight due to a leg injury but they ultimately met at UFC 182 in early 2015, Jones winning via unanimous decision.
However, Jones was stripped of his title a few months later after a hit-and-run incident, with the title vacated. Cormier then defeated Anthony Johnson for the vacant belt at UFC 187, and later successfully defended it against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192 in Houston.
Jones had eight successful title defenses before being stripped of the title, and both men will feel they are the deserving champions, with Cormier confident that he can beat Jones the second time around.
UFC 200 will also feature the women’s bantamweight title fight between Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes and the interim featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar. McGregor is expected to face the winner of the Aldo-Edgar fight the next time he steps into the Octagon.