The UFC light heavyweight champion had gone through a full training camp and was looking at both the biggest payday of his career and the opportunity to avenge his only professional loss when he was informed Jones was yanked from the fight due to a potential USADA anti-doping violation.
Less than an hour after getting the news, a crestfallen Cormier addressed the media.
"I'm very disappointed," Cormier said. "I worked really hard to prepare for this and, you know, take care of what you can take care of and that's what I did. But more than anything, just really disappointed. ... To hear something like this is very sad from a competitive standpoint from a financial standpoint, there are a number of ways this is disappointing. I really don't know how to explain how i'm feeling right now."
As of late Wednesday night, however, the door remained open to Cormier potentially finding an ultra-short-notice foe to step up and fight. While that wouldn't alleviate the disappointment of not fighting Jones, it would at least save his UFC 200 payday.
"I've trained hard and long, if anybody would fight [against Cormier], I would fight," Cormier said. "Why not? I understand the difficult task it would be on two days [notice]. I'd put some weight, you know, 225, 220, I'll fight. But I can't fight a really big guy right now because I've been shrinking my body to make 205. If it doesn't make sense for the organization or for me, it doesn't make sense. We have always been in tune, me and the UFC, and we made these decisions together."
Wednesday night, several fighters put their name in to fight Cormier, including former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi, who is scheduled to meet Thiago Santos in a middleweight preliminary bout on Saturday; newly crowned UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, who is in Las Vegas for his duties as a FOX analyst; and Swedish contender Ilir Latifi, who is training with the American Top Team in South Florida.
UFC president Dana White wasn't ready to commit to a potential new opponent.
"We really gotta look and see who's available, who's willing," White said. "What happens is, when news like this comes out, guys call [matchmaker] Joe Silva going ‘I will take that fight.' That's usually how it works."
Until that gets sorted out, Cormier is left to dealt with yet another frustrating situation related to Jones. Their history includes a hotel lobby brawl at a press conference, a Jones victory over Cormier at UFC 182, and now three fight fallouts in four attempts to put together a matchup.
For his part, Cormier took the high road and refused once again to kick Jones while he's down.
"I'm not a guy who likes to pile on to somebody, no matter who it is," Cormier said. "USADA changes a lot of things. They are a great organization who is going to clean up our sport ... the UFC didn't have to do this, they decided to clean up this sport, so you're going to have casualties. Jon deserves due process."
Cormier, who went undefeated as a heavyweight before dropping down to 205 pounds and defeated Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson in title fights in Jones' absence due to legal issues last year, balked when asked if he'd accept another bout with Jones if it was offered, saying he needs to move on.
"I have to move forward," Cormier said. "This chapter in my life has been dragging me and dragging me and it's made my ugly. I guess we'll see what happens in his appeal process. Right now i've got to move forward and start to clear my mind of anything in regards to him."