As it turns out, a rematch will indeed headline UFC 200. Unfortunately for Conor McGregor, he’s on the outside looking in.
On Wednesday, the UFC took over the set of ABC’s “Good Morning America” and announced a light heavyweight title unification bout between freshly-minted interim champion Jon Jones and champ Daniel Cormier will get top billing at the July 9 event.
Jones and Cormier were initially slated to collide this past Saturday at UFC 197, but Cormier was forced to withdraw earlier this month with a leg injury. Ovince St. Preux agreed to serve as substitute and meet Jones for the interim 205-pound crown.
While Jones cruised to a landslide unanimous decision victory, he looked every bit of a man who hadn’t stepped inside the cage for 15 months.
Jones solidified his spot as the most decorated light heavyweight champion in UFC history after beating Cormier last January to notch is eighth consecutive title defense. However, Jones was stripped of his hardware following April’s felony hit-and-run arrest where a pregnant motorist suffered a broken arm.
Cormier went on to submit Anthony Johnson to capture the vacant belt one month later. He then defended the throne with a split decision victory over Alexander Gustafsson in October.
There’s still plenty of bad blood between Jones and Cormier – Jones flipped his archenemy the bird as he left the cage this past Saturday – so there’s definitely an ample amount of sizzle heading into UFC 200. As much sizzle as McGregor would have generated in a rematch with Nate Diaz? Probably not.
McGregor lost a stand-off with UFC president Dana White after refusing to break camp in Iceland to hop on the UFC’s private jet to attend last Friday’s UFC 200 press conference in Las Vegas. McGregor, the UFC’s biggest cash cow, believes that focusing on his training to avenge March’s upset submission loss to Diaz is in his best interest, not to “hand out flyers.”
Furthermore, the UFC featherweight champion thinks that because he helped the UFC generate $400 million in his last three fights that the promotion should give him some “leeway” just this one time.
White wasn’t budging and pulled McGregor from the historic show. McGregor also wasn’t budging and pulled a no-show.
Now UFC 200 will feature a trio of title tilts. Along with the main event, Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar will battle for the vacant interim featherweight title. Miesha Tate also puts her bantamweight belt on the line against Amanda Nunes.
T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada hosts the festivities.
Here is the show’s updated roster:
Takanori Gomi vs. Jim Miller
Cat Zingano vs. Julianna Pena
Sage Northcutt vs. Enrique Marin
Joe Lauzon vs. Diego Sanchez
Johny Hendricks vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Gegard Mousasi vs. Derek Brunson
Cain Velasquez vs. Travis Browne
Amanda Nunes vs. Miesha Tate (UFC bantamweight champion)
Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar (For UFC interim featherweight title)
Jon Jones (UFC interim light heavyweight champion) vs. Daniel Cormier (UFC light heavyweight champion)