The UFC was dealt yet another major injury blow with word that light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was out of his scheduled title defense at UFC 178 against Daniel Cormier. The two fighters had been quick to turn their clash into one of the most anticipated fights of 2014 after a highly-publicized brawl last week and a nasty trash-talking video that featured plenty of expletives and threats between the two fighters. Jones vs. Cormier has now been pushed back to UFC 182 on Jan. 3.
A flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Chris Cariaso, that was to be the co-main event at UFC 177 later this month in Sacramento, now becomes the headliner for the Sept. 27 card in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the string of events has been a far too common theme for the promotion this year.
The UFC took the rare step of canceling UFC 176 when Jose Aldo was forced out of his featherweight title fight against Chad Mendes. It marked just the second time that the organization had scrapped an event. Keep your fingers crossed that bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw remains healthy for his title rematch against Renan Barao or the UFC’s Aug. 30 event will be in major trouble.
Jones had been initially slated to face Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 178 in Las Vegas in a highly anticipated 205-pound rematch. However, “The Mauler” was forced to withdraw because of a knee injury. Their initial clash at UFC 165 was an all-time classic light heavyweight title encounter and fans were excited about the prospects of seeing them do it again. Cormier entered the fray after Gustafsson was forced out, and “DC” and Jones took the hype for their matchup to an absolute fever pitch. It shaped up as the biggest PPV event of 2014, but now won’t be happening until next year.
Gustafsson has been quick to express his frustrations about having to play a major waiting game. He took to social media to claim that it was his fight to begin with and he should get the call now that the Jones injury will delay matters. That’s not about to happen unless Cormier is eventually forced to pull out of the matchup. The way things have been going these days it’s not something that can be entirely ruled out.
The flyweight title clash between “Mighty Mouse” and Cariaso is nicely complemented by a featherweight matchup between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier and the return of former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz against Takeya Mizugaki. However, the loss of Jones vs. Cormier will undoubtedly leave fans with that all too common feeling of “what might have been” when it comes to UFC 178.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.