Daniel Cormier may have realized that Jon Jones will be a mad man after encountering some road bumps going into their fight come April 23 that he had to pull out of it as quickly as he could and made a bizarre excuse that his foot got injured.
TMZ reported that after Jones spend two nights in jail for violating his probation then getting a scorn warning from a judge and when given the green light by UFC president Dana White to fight at UFC 197, Cormier then pulls the plug and jump ship.
It was not clear as to how Cormier got the injury, but Jones send a strong message to his bitter rival via Twitter wishing him good health, to enjoy his “vacation” and the belt as well. Jones also aired his reaction MMAjunkie over to the announcement that he will still fight at UFC 197 with replacement Saint Preux.
“Hey, y’all know I’m not into taking last-minute fights. It’s not the way me and my trainers do things. But this last year has been real crazy, and I feel like I owe my fans so much. So, UFC, whether you got a heavyweight, light heavyweight – it doesn’t matter. Let’s keep this main event going. Send them my way,” Jones said.
Cormier issued a statement over his social media accounts explaining that it will take four weeks for him to recover from his foot injury. He also expressed his apologizes to his fans, Jones and to the UFC that he will not be able to fight at UFC 197.
“The decision not to fight on April 23 was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. I’ve been scheduled to fight 18 times, and I have made that walk every time. I want to apologize to Jon Jones, Lorenzo Fertitta, Dana White and all of the UFC fans for not being able to defend my title. The recovery should not take very long, and I can’t wait to compete and defend my title again. For all the fans, thanks for your support. I appreciate each and every one of you,” Cormier stated.
UFC president Dana White also made the announcement over ESPN that Preux will take on Jones for the interim light heavyweight title. White explained that after receiving the word that Cormier backed out of the fight, they have considered Anthony Johnson as a contender. But since Johnson is still out with a mouth injury, Preux was next on the list.
“Obviously, the No. 1 choice would be Anthony Johnson, who is the No. 2-ranked guy in the world and a fight that everybody wants to see. But Anthony Johnson just had surgery on his mouth and can’t even put a mouthpiece in for at least three weeks. The one thing we’ve learned in the 16 years in this business is you never know what’s going to happen. Anything is possible when two guys get in there. Jon Jones and OSP have never faced off before. No. 1 versus No. 6. Two big, strong, athletic, explosive guys. Anything is possible,” White added.
Preux, 32, who fight out of Knoxville, Tennessee is a no push over as he carries a fight record of 19-7-0 win-loss-draw. The six-foot-three, 205 lbs. Preux is ranked sixth in his weight class and surely be an exciting opponent for Jones.
Fox Sports reported that Preux may be pressured with three weeks to train before the fight night, but sees the opportunity as a blessing as the winner of the interim title will face Cormier later in the year for the light heavyweight title.
Photo Courtesy: Daniel Cormier @DC_MMA/Twitter