After Jon Jones was pulled from Saturday’s UFC 200 card, following a potential doping violation, Daniel Cormier has a new opponent: Anderson Silva.
UFC president Dana White revealed Thursday evening (July 7) that the 41-year-old Silva will replace Jones as the challenger to Cormier, in a three-round, nontitle light heavyweight fight.
Silva has fought just three times at 205 pounds, but won each bout. He defeated James Irvin in July 2008, Forrest Griffin in August 2009 and Stephan Bonnar in October 2012 — all via first-round knockout.
“I think it’s an interesting, fun fight,” White said at a postfight news conference for Thursday’s UFC Fight Night. “Anderson Silva is undefeated at 205, and not just undefeated, but devastatingly undefeated. Every time he’s moved up to 205, he’s looked better than he did at 185.”
The news comes just one day before official weigh-ins for UFC 200. Silva is fighting on two days’ notice. However, Silva will require final medical clearance by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but the UFC expects Silva to be cleared.
Silva (33-7) last fought in February, suffering a decision loss to Michael Bisping at UFC Fight Night in London, England.
He was scheduled to fight Uriah Hall at UFC 198 in May, but was forced to pull out the week of the fight when he experienced abdominal pain. He was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery to remove his gall bladder later in the week.
“I haven’t trained in a few months, but I think I’m in good condition to go in there and put on a good fight,” a smiling Silva said through a translator.
Silva hasn’t won a fight since 2012, when he earned a TKO win over Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153. He lost twice to Chris Weidman, the last in devastating fashion, when he broke his leg. He did defeat Nick Diaz at UFC 183 in January 2015, but that result was overturned when Silva failed multiple drug tests for steroids.
Despite a string of loss, Silva is arguably one of the greatest fighters of all time, holding the UFC record for consecutive title defenses with 10.