On Memorial Day Weekend, two world title fights headline UFC 187 as undisputed light heavyweight king Jon Jones meets No. 1 contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in the five-round main event. Plus, middleweight champion Chris Weidman puts his belt on the line when he faces former light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort on May 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The pound-for-pound king, Jon Jones (21-1) continues to smash records and make history as he goes for an unprecedented ninth successful UFC light heavyweight title defense. Undefeated in his last 12 bouts, Jones is currently tied for second place with former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre for the longest active winning streak, just behind former middleweight champion Anderson Silva with 17. Jones is on a path to become arguably the greatest fighter of all-time, having defeated both former legends and rising stars, with his most recent victory coming after a five-round war against U.S. Olympian Daniel Cormier at UFC 182. Looking to further etch his name in the record books, Jones gladly welcomes the challenge of facing the hardest-hitting opponent of his career at UFC 187.
Since making his UFC return in 2014, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (19-4) has gone 3-0, collecting two first-round finishes over former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson (TKO at 2:15 of round 1 at UFC Fight Night®in Stockholm) and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (KO at 0:44 seconds of round 1 at UFC on FOX in San Jose), while also delivering a masterful performance against seventh-ranked Phil Davis at UFC 172. A nine-fight win streak, coupled with dominant wins over top tier talent, has earned Johnson a chance to challenge the pound-for-pound king for the light heavyweight world title.
In what will be an electric co-main event, middleweight champion Chris Weidman (12-0) will put his spotless record on the line when he faces the fourth-ranked Belfort, who has been anxiously awaiting his shot at the belt. After doing the seemingly impossible by beating former champion Anderson Silva twice, Weidman went on to defend his title in spectacular fashion against former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida at UFC 175. The five-round battle earned the pair a Fight of the Year nomination and cemented Weidman’s place in the pound-for-pound rankings (No. 4). With victories over many of the sport’s elite, the New Yorker looks to add another notable name to his resume when he takes on one of his most ferocious opponents to date.
Determined to hold titles in two weight classes, former 205-pound champ Vitor Belfort (24-10) has been destroying his competition as of late, and at 37 years old, has never looked better. In his most recent outings, “The Phenom” defeated both Dan Henderson and Luke Rockhold in the first round following his incredible second-round TKO victory over Michael Bisping in January 2013. Weidman and Belfort have been slated to meet on three separate occasions, and the two will finally go to war on May 23.
The fight card also features several other marquee bouts. Undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov faces red hot Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone who is on a seven-fight winning streak. Former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski clashes with hard hitting Travis Browne. UFC 187 also includes a pair of flyweight bouts that have major implications in the 125-pound division. Top ranked John Dodson takes on ninth-ranked Zach Makovsky while second-ranked Joseph Benavidez meets fourth-ranked John Moraga. The Ultimate Fighter 20 finalist Rose Namajunas returns to action to take on Nina Ansaroff.
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