UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier expects Jon Jones to return in the near future to fight Anthony Johnson. What he doesn’t expect is for Jones to maintain his interim champion designation.
Cormier was recently a guest on former UFC fighter Brian Stann’s SiriusXM radio show, where he was confronted with the idea that Jones had struck some sort of deal to make a quick return after testing positive to prohibited substances and being pulled from the main event prior to UFC 200. Upon his return, he could face Johnson.
“That’s what I expect,” said Cormier.
When Jones tested positive and began his adjudication process, he held the interim UFC light heavyweight championship. The fight with Cormier at UFC 200 was supposed to unify the title, but since it didn’t occur, the status of Jones’ interim title has remained in limbo.
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“Now one thing I completely disagree with, completely – and I don’t care who hears it – why in the hell would Jon still be the interim champion?” Cormier questioned. “That makes no sense. That makes absolutely no sense. I don’t even know why he would still be the interim champion. His ass was disqualified. Take that freakin’ belt off of him. That’s stupid.
“If they fight, they fight to determine the number one contender, it’s not some interim championship fight. That makes no sense at all. You’d have an interim champion defending the interim championship, while the actual champion is actually still there. That makes no sense whatsoever.”
Whether that is the plan or not has yet to be determined. Neither White nor UFC officials have declared any fight for Jones, who is still mired in the adjudication process with the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the Nevada Athletic Commission. USADA is hush, hush on determining an outcome, as it is in all cases, and Jones isn’t expected to go before the Nevada Commission until October.
Jones and White have both mentioned that Jones is likely going to get some sort leniency on his positive test, and could be back much sooner that the potential two-year suspension that he could have faced. White also mentioned the idea of Jones vs. Johnson after Johnson defeated Glover Teixeira in devastating fashion at UFC 202 in August.
“I’m in a weird place,” White said following Johnson’s recent victory. “We saw (Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson), 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.”
None of this is likely to come into focus until Jones’ case gets cleared up. But if that doesn’t happen soon, as in early October, the UFC is going to be forced to move on and move the light heavyweight division forward.