Cormier pulls out of Jones fight with leg injury
Published on Saturday, 4/2/16 12:01 a.m. Eastern.
According to a report from BJPenn.com, one that was verified by Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, Daniel Cormier has withdrawn from his UFC 197 showdown against Jon Jones due to a leg injury.
It is unclear if the UFC, which has yet to verify the cancellation, will seek a replacement for Cormier. Demetrious Johnson is currently scheduled to defend his flyweight strap vs. Henry Cujudo in the co-main event.
Cormier dropped a unanimous decision to Jones at UFC 182 last January, but ‘Bones’ lost his belt following his arrest for a hit-and-run incident.
While on suspension, Cormier won the vacant light-heavyweight championship by submitting Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson at UFC 187. Cormier defended his title successfully with a split-decision victory over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192.
At this point, we don’t know the extent of Cormier’s leg injury. Regardless, I would think the promotion would try to find a new opponent for Jones. The clear choice is Johnson, who has bagged four consecutive Performance of the Night bonuses.
Since the loss to Cormier, Johnson has won back-to-back fights by destroying Ryan Bader and Jimi Manuwa with violent KO finishes. Jones-Rumble would be just as big as Jones-Cormier II.
Given Jones’ long reign as the 205-pound kingpin, you would assume the UFC will make a fight against Johnson for the interim belt.
If Johnson can’t go, Alexander Gustafsson could get a third shot at tasting UFC gold. Even though ‘The Mauler’ has lost three of his last four fights, I believe you could totally sell Jones-Gustafsson II because of how close his losses were to Cormier and Jones.
Gustafsson-Jones I was the 2013 Fight of the Year. The Swede had Jones hurt and in trouble for five full rounds, testing the former champ like no fighter has ever done in the Octagon.
Gustafsson-Cormier was also a Fight of the Night.
Check back soon as we’ll update this fluid story when news develops.