UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has a new opponent for UFC 200, and it’s one of the biggest stars in UFC history.
TMZ reported on Thursday night that Anderson Silva would now face Cormier at the event the organization had been hoping would be their biggest pay-per-view in history. Ariel Helwani also reported that it will be a three round fight at 205 lbs but that Cormier's light heavyweight championship would not be on the line.
It was later announcd that Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes is the show's new main event with Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt as the semi-main. Cormier vs. Silva will take place third from the top.
UFC president Dana White said that Silva passed all of the required medical tests with flying colors at a press conference on Thursday night.
Silva is one of the greatest fighters to ever step foot in the Octagon, but has struggled in the last few years. He lost his long-held middleweight championship to Chris Weidman in 2013 and broke his leg in their rematch later that year.
Silva beat Nick Diaz by unanimous decision in his return fight, but it was later ruled a no contest after both men failed drug tests.
He was again forced out of action after being suspended for a year following that failure for performance-enhancing drugs. He returned again in February 2016, losing by unanimous decision to now UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping. White said that Silva could possibly challege Bisping for the middleweight championship if he beats Cormier.
Silva was scheduled to fight Uriah Hall in May, but had to pull out of the fight after undergoing gallbladder surgery.
White posted a video with Silva announcing his return on Twitter.
During a rare impromptu press conference late Wednesday night, White announced that Jon Jones would not face Cormier in the scheduled main event after being flagged by USADA for a potential anti-doping violation.
Jones has since denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs.
White was initially dismissive about being able to find the right opponent for Cormier, but confirmed on the Colin Cowherd show on Thursday afternoon that Cormier would fight on the card.
White also previously suggested that Cormier would not be further compensated for the work he put in leading up to Saturday night’s fight if they could not find an opponent for him.
Bisping was thought to be a possibility to face Cormier, but White told Cowherd on Fox Sports One Thursday that Bisping "goes on a bender" during his "offseason" between fights.