On Wednesday night, UFC fans learned that former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones was being pulled from the UFC 200 card due to a potential USADA violation, and just a little while later, UFC president Dana White held a press-conference to announce the potential Jones violation. White let Daniel Cormier, who was going to be Jones’ opponent on Saturday night, speak about the issue.
Both White and Cormier were asked about a possible replacement opponent, and both said that they would be open to the idea if anyone was willing to step up with just two days’ notice. Cormier also said that he’d be willing to fight someone who could weigh-in at around 225 pounds, but they couldn’t be any heavier than that because he’s in the process of cutting down to 205 pounds.
“I’ve trained hard and long, and if anybody would fight, I would fight. I mean why not? I understand the difficult task it would be to get someone to fight me on two days [notice]. Obviously I’m willing to fight up [a weight class], 225, 220, I’ll fight, it doesn’t matter. I just can’t fight a really big guy right now because I’ve been shrinking my body in order to make 205.”
So now the question is, who is willing to step up on short notice to fight Cormier on the card? Well, a few guys have thrown their names into the hat.
One of those men is UFC veteran “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, who asked for the fight on Twitter. Lawlor has a professional record of 10-6, and he’s coming off of a controversial unanimous decision loss to Corey Anderson. He also competed on the UFC 100 card, and earned the submission of the night bonus after he submitted CB Dollaway.
UFC middleweight Gegard Mousasi has also asked for a shot at Daniel Cormier, even though he has another fight scheduled on the UFC 200 under card. He currently holds a record of 38-6, and he’s won four of his last six fights.
Lastly, new UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping has volunteered to fight DC. Of course, Bisping fought Luke Rockhold — who is Cormier’s teammate at the American Kickboxing Academy — on short notice and knocked him out in the first round at last month’s UFC 199. Bisping doesn’t have an upcoming fight, and he used to fight at light heavyweight. He was also on the UFC 100 card, where he got knocked out by Dan Henderson.
Dana White said during the press-conference that, if he were to give Cormier a replacement opponent, it’d have to be someone who’s a contender, and even though Bisping is in another weight class, he certainly fits that description. Furthermore, the Champion vs. Champion angle may intrigue a lot of people and help the show break the company’s all-time pay-per-view record.
As of this writing, the UFC hasn’t announced a replacement opponent for Cormier, but DC’s teammate Luke Rockhold posted an update on his Facebook page just a few hours ago that showed that DC was still preparing for a fight. So it’s likely that the UFC has informed him that they will find an opponent for him.
If Cormier does end up fighting at UFC 200, he won’t be defending his Light Heavyweight Championship, and he may not even end up back in the main-event slot, as that spot has been filled by the Mark Hunt vs. Brock Lesnar fight.
UFC 200 may end up being co-headlined by two non-title fights, while both of the show’s title fights – Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes and Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo – take place prior to the DC fight, and Lesnar vs. Hunt.
[Image via Steve Marcus / Getty Images]