Daniel Cormier is getting the title shot that he’s coveted for so long. The former Olympian will step in to face current light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, at UFC 178.
Jones was set to face Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch of their 2013 bout, but the Swedish fighter was forced off of the card due to an injury. The UFC reported that Alexander suffered an injury to the meniscus in his right knee. This incident has created the opportunity for Cormier to step into the main event of the September 27 showcase.
The changing of the main event creates an interesting dynamic within the light heavyweight division. The rematch between Jones and Gustafsson was one of the most anticipated fights in 2014. Gustafsson nearly defeated Jones at UFC 165, and many fans still believe he should have had his hand raised in victory.
His victory over Jimi Manuwa in March placed him in the position to face Jones once again. However, to the dismay of MMA fans, Jones created a controversy by stating that he would rather face Cormier than Gustafsson (via ESPN). After a quick back and forth, the UFC was finally able to get the fight between Jones and Gustafsson booked for UFC 178 in Las Vegas.
The injury bug has struck once again, though, and changed a fight that the UFC needed to create a strong event. Unlike UFC 176, which was recently cancelled due to Jose Aldo’s injury, UFC 178 will be able to go on since the light heavyweight division has the depth needed at a time like this.
Cormier is currently ranked No. 2 in the light heavyweight division by the UFC. Even though he’s competed as a heavyweight for most of his career, he made it known that his intentions were to fight at 205 (via SB Nation).
With his experience in wrestling, many believe that he has the tools to defeat Jones if they ever face off. The fight community is now just two months away from seeing if that prediction will come to fruition.
Cormier has been able to dominate bigger men with his wrestling abilities. As a light heavyweight, he’s continued that trend within the Octagon. When he defeated Dan Henderson, a fellow Olympian, Cormier was able to take him down repeatedly without much restraint from the former two-division champion.
According to statistics provided by Fight Metric, Gustafsson became the first opponent to take Jones down in his professional career. This creates an interesting question as to whether or not Jones will be able to defend Cormier’s takedowns.
Cormier has effectively saved UFC 178 by replacing Gustafsson in the main event of the show. With the main event now reading Jones vs. Cormier, fight fans can stay excited about the upcoming event.