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Just hours after they squared off at last night's UFC 200 press conference, Jon Jones (right) was pulled from Saturday night's bout against Daniel Cormier.
Just hours after they squared off at last night's UFC 200 press conference, Jon Jones (right) was pulled from Saturday night's bout against Daniel Cormier.
Image: John Locher

7 fighters who are ready to replace Jon Jones against Daniel Cormier at UFC 200

Jones is out of Saturday night’s main event in Las Vegas following a potential anti-doping violation.
Jul 7th 2016, 11:34 AM 14,622 8

NEWS EMERGED OVERNIGHT from Las Vegas that the light-heavyweight title unification bout between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones won’t be going ahead.

Interim 205lbs champion Jones was scheduled to bid to regain the undisputed championship from Cormier in Saturday night’s UFC 200 main event at the T-Mobile Arena.

However, the headline bout has now been pulled from the bill after it was announced that 28-year-old Jones — the UFC’s pound-for-pound number one fighter — has been flagged by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for a potential anti-doping violation.

Jones could now be facing a two-year ban, but as the UFC explained in a statement: “It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed.

“However, because Jones was scheduled to compete against Daniel Cormier this coming Saturday… there is insufficient time for a full review before the scheduled bout and therefore the fight has been removed from the fight card.”

The non-title heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt will now headline UFC 200, although UFC president Dana White hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Cormier fighting on Saturday night against a short-notice replacement.

UFC 200 Mixed Martial Arts UFC interim light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Source: John Locher

Having completed a full training camp, Cormier also appears to be willing to take on a new opponent: “I’ve trained hard and long and if anybody would fight, I would fight,” he said. “I mean why not? But I understand the difficult task to get somebody to fight me on two days’ [notice].

“Obviously, I’m willing to fight up, put on some weight — 225 [pounds], 220, I’ll fight them. It doesn’t matter. I just can’t fight a really big guy right now because I’ve been kind of shrinking my body to make 205, but if it doesn’t make sense for the organisation or me, then it doesn’t make sense.”

Even before Dana White’s press conference to announce the news had ended, the UFC president claimed that several fighters had already been in touch with matchmaker Joe Silva to offer to replace Jones against Cormier.

Gegard Mousasi

If there is to be a replacement opponent for Cormier, Mousasi would appear to be the front-runner at the moment. A former Strikerforce light-heavyweight champion, Mousasi is already due to fight on Saturday night’s card — against Thiago Santos in a middleweight [185lbs] bout. Therefore, making 205lbs won’t be an issue for the Dutch fighter. That would also give the UFC the option of ensuring that it remains a light-heavyweight title bout, if that’s their preference. White inadvertently mentioned Mousasi’s name at the end of last night’s press conference, but claimed it was a slip of the tongue.

Alexander Gustafsson

The Swede has come up short in his two previous attempts to claim the UFC light-heavyweight title, but he pushed both Jones and Cormier all the way over a couple of epic five-round contests in September 2013 and October 2015 respectively.

Michael Bisping

Just a month after he knocked out Luke Rockhold on two weeks’ notice to claim the UFC middleweight title, Bisping is willing to go again — this time in pursuit of the light-heavyweight strap. Bisping and Cormier are colleagues as pundits on FOX Sports, but the Manchester native won’t allow friendship to get in the way of business, it would appear.

Roy Nelson

‘Big Country’ is scheduled to fight Derrick Lewis tonight at UFC Fight Night 90, but he says he’s happy to step in again just 48 hours later. However, Nelson’s chances are slim after Cormier said he wasn’t willing to fight “a really big guy”. Cormier drew the line at 220/225 pounds, whereas Nelson weighed in last night at 263.

Ilir Latifi

Currently ranked 13th in the 205lbs division, Latifi has been making good progress thanks to consecutive wins over Hans Stringer, Sean O’Connell and Gian Villante inside the last 12 months. He’s by no means regarded as a title contender, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. He’s currently due to face Ryan Bader in Hamburg on 3 September.

Uriah Hall

Since entering the UFC after reaching the Finale of The Ultimate Fighter 17 in 2013, Hall has mixed the extraordinary with the very ordinary. Following a stunning knockout of Gegard Mousasi last September, the Jamaican-born middleweight failed to impress as he dropped a unanimous-decision loss to Robert Whittaker in November. He was expected to face Anderson Silva at UFC 198 in May but Silva pulled out of the bout after requiring surgery to remove his gallbladder. Hall has been inactive since.

Tom Lawlor

A fan favourite, Lawlor is coming off a loss to Corey Anderson in March. However, the 33-year-old American says he can make weight at 205lbs if given the shot.

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