A knee injury has opened the door for Daniel Cormier to step in and challenge Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title.
Officials announced on Wednesday that Alexander Gustafsson had suffered an injury to his knee in training and will not make a planned UFC 178 main event title fight with Jones.
Cormier (15-0) moved down to light heavyweight after defeating the likes of Frank Mir and Roy Nelson at heavyweight. The former U.S. Olympic wrestler defeated Dan Henderson earlier this year, and was scheduled for knee surgery himself. That will be put on hold for his shot at “Bones.”
Cormier posted a picture of a direct message that Jones sent him on Twitter that read, “I hope you’re ready to come to daddy.” Cormier responded with, “I am. I’m gonna (expletive) you up,” but added that he couldn’t send his back.
Jones (20-1) initially pushed for Cormier to be his next opponent after defeating Glover Teixeira. Last year, Jones earned a decision victory over Gustafsson. He holds wins over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and others.
Vitor Belfort will get his chance at becoming the UFC middleweight champion this December – if he abides by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
UFC officials announced following a hearing by the NAC that Belfort will challenge Chris Weidman for the belt on December 6 at UFC 181. The bout will main event the card from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Belfort (24-10) appeared before the NAC on Wednesday to address his previous failed drug test and use of TRT. The NAC agreed to grant “The Phenom” his fight license on a conditional basis, as he must pass several upcoming tests.
Weidman (12-0) earned his second successful title defense earlier this year when he defeated Lyoto Machida via decision. He won the belt last year by topping Anderson Silva.
The card is also rumored to be the sight for Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez for the lightweight title. No official word on that fight has been made by the UFC.
Johny Hendricks doesn’t want to give Robbie Lawler or Matt Brown any added ammunition to use against him down the road.
The UFC welterweight champion will find out his first challenger this Saturday night when Lawler and Brown collide in the main event of UFC on FOX 12 from San Jose.
Holding a previous win over Lawler, Hendricks knows exactly what “Ruthless” can do. But, he’s all seen “The Immortal” become a top contender in the division thanks to his current run.
“Realistically I don’t really care (who wins),” said Hendricks, during a recent interview with MMAjunkie.com. “There’s a part of me that would like to face Robbie again being healthy. But then again, there’s a part of me that wants somebody new.”
Hendricks earned the title via decision over Lawler earlier this year. He entered the fight banged up, and left it with a torn bicep that shelved him since.
“I’m torn on this fight,” he added. “Also, I don’t like to pick the welterweight class because if I sit here and (say), ‘Robbie is going to smash Matt Brown,’ and all of a sudden Matt beats him, did I give him fuel to fight me? And vice-versa.
“I’d like to see how it plays out because I think they both have a chance to win.”
Conor McGregor said if the UFC came back to Dublin, Ireland that he would sell the arena out.
McGregor also stated that whoever he was paired up again, the fight would end quickly.
“Notorious” was 2-for-2 in his predictions, defeating Diego Brandao Saturday at UFC Fight Night 46 in front of a sold out O2 Arena in Ireland. The bout was McGregor’s return following knee surgery last year.
“I said I was going to put him away in the first round and I put him away in the first round,” McGregor said. “It will take something special…..for someone to come over here in my hometown, there isn’t a man alive that can beat me on this soil.”
McGregor (15-2) improved to 3-0 since joining the UFC with a first round finish of Marcus Brimage. He scored a decision over Max Holloway last August, but the fight resulted in an injured knee. He was originally scheduled to face Cole Miller, but Miller suffered an injury and was forced out.
The change in opponent didn’t seem to matter to McGregor, as he embraced the Irish crowd and took the fight to Brandao, a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter.
“I knew I was the bigger man, the bigger featherweight,” McGregor said. “At the end of the day, what’s next for me? I’m going to go backstage, have some whiskey with Lorenzo Fertitta and talk about (competing in an Irish) futbol stadium and world titles. That’s what I want.”
Brandao suffered a second straight first round knockout loss, as he was also finished by Dustin Poirier this past December. He is now 18-10 in his career and 4-3 with the UFC.
Weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao took place earlier today from Dublin, Ireland.
In the main event, Conor McGregor returns from a knee injury to face Diego Brandao. The co-main boasts Gunnar Nelson vs. Zak Cummings, while Brad Pickett-Ian McCall and Norman Parke-Naoyuki Kotani round out the main card.
Both McGregor (146 pounds) and Brandao (145.5) weighed in successfully, as just one fighter – Josh Sampo – missed weight. Sampo came in only a half-pound over and will have two hours to cut down.
Action begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass with the prelims, while the main card also streams live online. Complete weigh-in results, and a video replay, can be found below:
MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass/3 p.m. ET)
Conor McGregor (146 lbs.) vs. Diego Brandao (145.5)
Gunnar Nelson (170.5) vs. Zak Cummings (171)
Brad Pickett (126) vs. Ian McCall (126)
Norman Parke (155.5) vs. Naoyuki Kotani (155.5)
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/12:30 p.m. ET)
Ilir Latifi (205) vs. Chris Dempsey (204)
Neil Seery (125.5) vs. Phil Harris (126)
Cathal Pendred (186) vs. Mike King (185.5)
Trevor Smith (185.5) vs. Tor Troeng (185)
Cody Donovan (205) vs. Nikita Krylov (205)
Patrick Holohan (125.5) vs. Josh Sampo (126.5)