Jon Jones will now fight Ovince St. Preux for the light-heavyweight interim title at UFC 197 on April 23rd after Daniel Cormier pulled out due to a foot injury.
OSP steps in on three weeks notice for what’s unquestionably the biggest fight of his caeer so far in a match-up that few saw coming.
The likes of Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson were the first names that sprung to mind when it became clear that a short notice replacement was required for Jones, while Rashad Evans is also believed to have thrown his hat into the ring.
However, the No.6 ranked OSP gets the nod and he heads into the fight off the back of a unanimous decision victory against Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante at UFC Fight Night 82 in early February.
Prior to that the 32 year-old has suffered a rear-naked choke submission loss to another former title challenger, Glover Teixeira, but he had notched up wins over Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Patrick Cummins before-hand and holds an overall 7-2 record since joining the UFC in 2013.
Jones will no doubt be disappointed that he’s not fighting for the ‘real’ belt, and he’s never mentioned OSP as a potential opponent, but prior to the announcement yesterday he had stated in a video that he was willing to fight anybody the UFC suggested in order to remain on the card.
That suggests the 28 year-old is eager to put his recent troubles behind him and get back to what he does best in the Octagon, 15 months since his last fight which saw him defeat the aforementioned Cormier by unanimous decision.