UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who pulled out of the UFC 197 main event on April 23 in Las Vegas, is expected to be able to fight again by around August or September according to a source close to the fighter.
Cormier would be expected to defend his title against the winner of the Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint-Preux replacement fight for the interim title that was announced on Saturday.
Cormier suffered a lower left leg injury in training on March 25. It was described as a freak injury doing light kickboxing training, which was diagnosed several days later through an MRI as being a complete middle substance rupture of the interosseous membrane from the fibula. FOX Sports' Damon Martin first reported the injury news.
No surgery will be needed for the injury and the healing time is expected to take four to eight weeks. Doctors believed there was a chance he may heal sooner than that. The injury should have no long-term effects.
The interosseous membrane in the lower leg is also known as the middle tibiofibular ligament, which helps stabilize the tibia/fibula relationship in his lower leg and separates the muscles on the front of the leg from those in the back of the leg.
Cormier was still hopeful of fighting after the diagnosis before it became clear that would be impossible, and pulled out, leading to the new fight.
Cormier vs. Jones was a rematch of a Jan. 3, 2015, fight which Jones won via decision. As Jones was set to defend the title against Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, he was suspended by the UFC after a hit-and-run accident that put Jones in legal trouble. He was then stripped of the championship. Cormier replaced Jones and defeated Johnson via choke to win the title that Jones never lost in combat.
Jones vs. Cormier would have been expected to have been the second biggest pay-per-view for UFC of the first six months of the year, and the company's biggest championship fight. The two have a bitter rivalry that dates back to when they first met years ago, and exploded in a brawl at a press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in 2014 prior to their first fight.
It led to the first fight doing the biggest pay-per-view numbers of Jones' long title reign.