Anthony Johnson’s 13-second knockout of Glover Teixeira in the UFC 202 co-headliner on Saturday night seemed to all but secure him a rematch with reigning light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier.
In the aftermath of that performance, both Johnson and Cormier were ready to make the bout happen soon. Cormier defeated “Rumble” for the vacant 205-pound strap at UFC 187 and was slated to face Jon Jones in the UFC 200 main event before “Bones” was pulled from the card for failing a pre-fight drug test. Instead, Cormier outpointed short-notice foe Anderson Silva in a non-title bout at UFC 200. With that in mind, Cormier seemed thrilled to be able to have a target other than his troubled rival.
So Cormier-Johnson is a done deal, right? Not so fast, says UFC President Dana White.
“I’m in a weird place,” White said on the UFC “Unfiltered” podcast. “We saw that fight, and it was a great fight. I’ve still got to talk to [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva and see what he thinks. But I’m thinking maybe we do Anthony Johnson vs. Jon Jones to see who gets to fight Daniel Cormier.”
Jones tested positive for a pair of estrogen blocking substances, hydroxyclomiphene and letrozole metabolite, in an out-of-competition drug test on June 16. He was temporarily suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission and faces a two-year suspension pending a formal hearing. However, the Jackson-Wink MMA standout recently expressed optimism that he could be “back in the Octagon really soon” in a video posted to his Instagram account.
“You know the guy’s got 13 lives, man,” White said. “It’s looking good for him. I think he’s got to deal with Nevada and this thing that went down -- and again, I can’t say a lot about it -- because it’s not my place, but we’ll see how this thing plays out. But it’s looking good for him.”
After defeating Cormier via unanimous decision at UFC 182, Jones spent most of 2015 on the sideline due in large part to his role in a hit-and-run accident in Albuquerque, N.M., that left a pregnant woman with a broken arm. He was stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely and was not reinstated until late last year. He returned to the Octagon at UFC 197, outpointing Ovince St. Preux to claim the interim 205-pound title. For now, the resolution of his anti-doping case and a date for his return to the Octagon are to be determined.
“With Jon Jones let’s face the facts. People can think whatever they want about Jon Jones. He’s one of the greatest to ever participate in this sport,” White said. “The guy is so f---ing talented. But he does not stop getting in trouble. And it’s so sad to see because the fights that this guy could be in, the records that this guy could break, if he could just get his s--t together.”