With two fighters out of the UFC 187 main card, fight card changes have already been made. By now anyone who follows the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) promotion, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in general, has heard the troubling news surrounding Jon “Bones” Jones. After being charged with a felony hit and run after colliding with a pregnant woman’s vehicle, the light heavyweight champion was suspended and stripped of his title. Jones is champion no longer, but as the adage goes, the show must go on.
Replacing Jones in the main event against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is the man who Jones defeated last, Daniel Cormier. Since the light heavyweight title is now vacant, the winner of this fight will be crowned the new champion. Though Dana White, President of the UFC, believes Cormier to be the logical choice to fight Johnson, some fans do not see it that way. Mostly, this is because the last time Cormier fought, at UFC 182, it was against Jones for the title. Cormier was out-classed for five rounds and lost. Now he gets another chance to be champion.
Johnson’s rise to the championship was not so easy. For a number of fights he fought at a lower weight class to varying degrees of success, and consistently had a hard time with stamina because of having to drop weight prior to a fight. Since making the move to light heavyweight, Johnson has not lost a fight, and has won in spectacular style with multiple knockouts. Seeing this ferocity is what made Jones request to fight Johnson, because he wanted “the kind of fight that Cormier could not give, a real one.”
Always one to talk smack leading up to a fight, Cormier has already taken to twitter and interviews in which he denounces Johnson’s capabilities as a fighter. He brought up Johnson’s losses at middleweight to both Vitor Belfort and Josh Koscheck. In both bouts, Johnson was submitted. Though Johnson wishes to not engage in a verbal back and forth, he recently responded via Twitter by saying, “I’m gonna keep my mouth closed with everything I just heard and smile lol.” Johnson is a fighter who prefers to let his powerful striking talk for him.
Another disappointing change to the fight card at UFC 187, is Khabib Nurmagomodev’s backing out of his fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. While not a main event, it still looked to be a great pairing of fighters. His decision to withdraw from the fight is the result of a leg injury sustained during training recently. If the rumors are true, Khabib suffered the same leg injury that the new lightweight champion Raphael Dos Anjos suffered right before his title fight with the former champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. This was a fight that Dos Anjos dominated, winning him the championship.
His opponent, Cerrone, was frustrated and said “What a sad case, I work through my injuries…” Cerrone was not the only UFC fighter to comment on the situation either, Pettis made a statement about Khabib can now enjoy welfare, and the constant comedian, Nick Diaz, took to twitter to make a statement. On his account, in regards to Khabib’s backing out, he simply stated “#madefromglass”. Ever one to stir the pot, Diaz’s comment reigns funny but true to many who have seen it. Now facing Cerrone, will be a striker from Canada named John Makdessi. Lastly, Sean Spencer has backed out of his preliminary card bout with Mike Pyle, who thus far has no new opponent.
Despite the multiple UFC 187 fight card changes, the event still looks to be exciting. Jones is out, but there are many more fights than that to look forward to, including the middleweight championship match between champion Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort. Also on the card is Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne, two top ranked heavyweights. Fans will miss Jon “Bones” Jones, the former number-one ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but the UFC has much more talent than one fighter.
By Benjamin Johnson
Photo by Jeremy Andrews – Creativecommons Flickr License