As word came Tuesday night that the UFC had suspended light heavyweight champion Jon Jones indefinitely, Daniel Cormier was slated take his place May 23.
With Jones stripped of his title, Cormier will have a second chance at the strap in 2015.
"If you told me a few years ago that I would fight Anthony Johnson for a UFC championship I would say package the belt up and send it to San Jose," Cormier said Tuesday on UFC Tonight.
Cormier was complimentary of Johnson's career revival, but quick to point out his early struggles on the mat.
Aside from a TKO via eye poke in 2008 against Kevin Burns, Johnson's other three losses all came by rear-naked choke.
"It's a tough fight," Cormier said. "Rumble Johnson's a fantastic fighter. He has tremendous power and he's got a confidence about himself right now. But I want to tell you guys right now, at the end of the day, Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson is who he is.
"At the core of Anthony Johnson, Anthony's the guy who got submitted by Josh Koscheck. Anthony's the guy that tapped out before Vitor Belfort got the choke in. At the core of him, he is who he is. I just have to go out and find that."
Johnson responded on Twitter, holding back for now.
I'm gonna keep my mouth closed with everything I just heard and smile lol— Anthony Johnson (@Anthony_Rumble) April 29, 2015
Cormier faces Johnson May 23 for the light heavyweight title in the main event at UFC 187 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
End of an era. The UFC has suspended Jon Jones indefinitely and stripped him of his title. Anthony Johnson will now face Daniel Cormier at UFC 187 for the light heavyweight title.
'Opportunity knocks.' Daniel Cormier reacts to Jon Jones being stripped of his title and wishes him well. 'I will win the belt, and then when Jon is ready to return, I will be happy to give him a shot at my belt.'
Statement. See the UFC's official release of the UFC 187 shakeup. 'While there is disappointment in the recent charges, the organization remains supportive of Jones as he works through the legal process.'
'Reddest of red flags.' Chuck Mindenhall explains why he believes the UFC should strip light heavyweight champion Jon Jones of his belt, which they've now done.
Dana White discussing Jones being stripped.
Dana White down in Albuquerque.
TUF 22 tryouts.
Behind the scenes post-fight at UFC 186.
GLORY 21 countdown show. (part 2 here)
Joanna Jedrzejczyk sticking with her team in Poland, but prefers fighting in the U.S.
Firas Zahabi teaching armbar techniques.
See how the pros reacted to Jones being suspended.
Got a lot of soul searching to do. Sorry to everyone I've let down.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) April 29, 2015
@JonnyBones best of luck with everything bro. Regardless of everything you are still the greatest light heavyweight champion of all time!— Anthony Johnson (@Anthony_Rumble) April 29, 2015
A few more reactions.
Best of luck to @JonnyBones ,let people close to u help you make the right choices. We all make mistakes, learn from it & move forward.— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) April 29, 2015
I am happy that the @UFC released Jones for the simple reason that he will now be able to go back to just being Jon Jones and get some help— Pat Miletich (@patmiletich) April 29, 2015
Joe Rogan (@joerogan) April 29, 2015
So I walk in to Jacksons today and have my teammates ask me if I'm ok. They heard rumors I was out the fight due to injury Never— Cowboy Cerrone (@Cowboycerrone) April 28, 2015
Hahahahahaah hurt, not hurt, trouble, not trouble I'll show up and fight with all my heart! Been... https://t.co/6PpK0zx1V4— Cowboy Cerrone (@Cowboycerrone) April 28, 2015
Sitting at the capital in opposition of SB277 Between practices. Parents should have a choice in the... https://t.co/2DnyOzUFfE— Urijah Faber (@UrijahFaber) April 28, 2015
Keep her in your thoughts.
For those of you who know me well know how close my family is. It breaks my heart to post that my... https://t.co/7LWALUZ2IY— Alexis Davis (@AlexisDavisMMA) April 28, 2015
Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) April 29, 2015
Announced yesterday (April 28 2015)
Jon Jones out, Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson at UFC 187
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Motmaitre.
On April 10th, the story broke: Yoel Romero was out of his eagerly-anticipated UFC on Fox 15 fight with Jacare Souza due to an injury suffered in training. A palpable lamentation befell the MMAspehere, even as a sense of resignation mitigated the agony. Such announcements have become so commonplace, they are rarely surprising and even expected. When journeyman Chris Camozzi was fed to Jacare instead as a sop to the expectant fans, it embodied the essence of the UFC's training injury problem, and raised the obvious question: why doesn't the UFC do more to stem this epidemic, this noxious 'injury bug'?
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.