It's been a roller-coaster ride this week in Las Vegas for UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Cormier was looking to unify the title in his highly-anticipated rematch with Jon Jones at UFC 200. By Wednesday night, Jones was yanked from the card for testing positive for a banned substance from a test administered by USADA back on June 16, leaving Cormier without an opponent.
By Thursday evening, Globo reported that Cormier was re-slotted for UFC 200 with the man many consider the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the sports history, longtime middleweight champion Anderson Silva. The fight will be in the third slot on the main card, and is a non-title fight scheduled for three rounds, Cormier, who has been through the emotional gamut in the last 24 hours, was relieved to retain a spot on UFC's benchmark card.
He was also taken aback to go from one legend in the sport to another.
"I am honored to share the Octagon with the one of the greatest fighters of all time," Cormier said in an exclusive statement to MMA Fighting. "This is a very tough fight for me, and I have to fight smart and to do my best in order to win this fight. Thank you Anderson for stepping up, and thanks to Dana White and the UFC for making this happen. Now let's go do this."
Silva (33-7-1) last competed at UFC Fight Night 84 in London against Michael Bisping. He lost a decision in a bizarre bout in which at one point he celebrated what he believe to be a TKO of Bisping. Overall he has gone 0-3-(1) in his last four bouts after rattling off 16 victories in a row in the UFC, including a record 10 title defenses.
The 41-year-old Silva's last fight at light heavyweight occurred against Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153 in Brazil. That was also the last time he won a fight officially. Silva defeated Nick Diaz at UFC 183, but the fight was subsequently ruled a "no contest" when he tested positive for banned substances.
Cormier (17-1) has won back-to-back fights since losing to Jones at UFC 182 in January 2015. He won the vacated title against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 (via third-round rear-naked choke), and followed that up with a split decision victory over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192 in Houston a little over four months later.