UFC fans got a brief preview of what a fight between unbeaten Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones might look like last week when the two rumbled in the lobby of the MGM Grand during a promotional appearance last week.
They’ll have to wait a little bit longer for the real thing.
Jones suffered a leg injury in training and has been forced to pull out of a scheduled Sept. 27 title defense against Cormier in the main event of UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The fight has been rescheduled for Jan. 3 as the main event of UFC 182 in the same arena. A flyweight title fight between Chris Cariaso and champion Demetrious Johnson has been moved from UFC 177 and will be the new main event of UFC 178.
Refunds for UFC 178 will be issued by request only at the point of sale. The deadline to request a refund is Aug. 22.
There was already a significant amount of hype around the fight before last week’s skirmish attracted the attention of mainstream media outlets that rarely mention the UFC. Anticipation was further built for the bout when a leaked video of behind-the-scenes trash talk following the brawl in the lobby was leaked late last week.
Jones has not commented publicly about the injury. Cormier appeared on Fox Sports 1 shortly after the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.
“(The postponement) can be a blessing, but I would be outside of myself to not say that I went into this fight knowing that my knee was pretty jacked up and I was gonna fight through it to get a title,” Cormier said. “I don’t think he is ducking me. I said from the beginning that Jon Jones isn’t afraid of anyone.
“I’m saying tough it out sometimes. Sometimes you gotta just tough it out and go in there and fight.”
Cormier had actually agreed to take the fight as a replacement for an injured Alexander Gustafsson, who lost a close decision to Jones last year. Gustafsson said on Facebook late Tuesday he would be ready to fight Jones on Jan. 3 and should have the opportunity to step back in to fight the champion.
“I just heard the news that Jones is injured and the fight is rescheduled to January 3???? Until then, I will be more than ready, it was MY fight to begin with and I WANT the fight as the number 1 contender.
“End of story!!”
UFC officials confirmed Cormier will be Jones’ opponent.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.