UFC announced another main event Wednesday night, making official that Daniel Cormier will defend his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against Anthony Johnson at the UFC 210 pay-per-view on April 8.
UFC released the news on their social media platforms and Cormier personally delivered the announcement on “UFC Tonight.”
The fight will be a rematch of the bout that originally saw Cormier win the championship back at UFC 187 in May of 2015. Cormier survived some early heavy shots from Johnson and eventually submitted him in the third round to win the then-vacant championship.
Since they last met, Cormier has fought just twice, defending his title in a very tight decision over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192 and then winning a decision over Anderson Silva in a short-notice non-title fight at UFC 200. Johnson has been on a tear in the same timeframe, scoring knockout wins over Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader, and Glover Teixeira.
Cormier is ranked #1 at light heavyweight and #4 pound-for-pound in the most recent MMATorch.com Rankings while Johnson is the third-ranked light heavyweight.
Johnson and Cormier were originally scheduled to fight at UFC 206 in December, but Cormier was forced to pull out of the bout due to injury. The rescheduled bout will take place a short drive from Toronto at the Keybank Center in Buffalo, New York.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I’m glad that they booked this fight again as it is the best fight they can make right now at light-heavyweight with Jon Jones out until at least July. It also makes sense that they made the fight for the Buffalo card as Toronto fans who originally bought tickets to see that fight at UFC 206 can make the short drive for UFC 210.
As for how the fight will go, a lot will depend on if Daniel Cormier is healthy or not. If Cormier can execute his wrestling effectively and get Anthony Johnson to the ground, he should be able to wear him out just as he did in their first fight. That will be easier said than done, though, as Johnson hits extremely hard and it will only take one punch to end the fight as all of Johnson’s recent opponents have learned the hard way.
THURSDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Felipe Olivieri has received a two-year USADA suspension after going through arbitration. Olivieri failed an out of competition test in January and his suspension will run through March 10, 2018. Olivieri argued that his urine sample was handled incorrectly by the lab, but the arbitrators did not feel he established this and handed down the standard two-year punishment.
-Michael McDonald told ESPN that he will be taking time off from fighting in order to take another job so he can save money to do a proper fight camp. “It’s tough because I don’t know if camp will be perfect and I don’t know if I’ll pay for one, only to have my opponent back out. It’s always iffy,” he said. McDonald last fought in July in the main event of the UFC Fight Night card from Sioux Falls, S.D.
–MMA Junkie posted a video going behind the scenes of UFC’s Performance Institute they are currently building in Las Vegas. The facility will be free to use for all UFC athletes and will include physiotherapy, hydro therapy, a cage for sparring rigged with multiple cameras, and a video suite to review footage afterwards. The facility is set to open in the spring.
-Gilbert Burns needs elbow surgery and has pulled out of his Feb. 19 fight with Alex Ricci at UFC Fight Night Halifax. Paul Felder has stepped in to take the fight.
Julianna Pena vs. Jessica Rakoczy from the Ultimate Fighter Finale in Nov. 2013.
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)