One of the most highly-anticipated rematches in MMA history will go down tomorrow night (Sat., Dec. 29, 2018) at UFC 232 live on pay-per-view from inside The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., as former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones takes on Alexander Gustafsson in the main event.
In order to clear way for Jones vs. Gustafsson 2, which will be for the undisputed 205-pound title, current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier had to relinquish his belt. While this plan was set in motion by UFC months ago, “DC” made things official earlier today in a statement to ESPN.
“Today I am going to relinquish the UFC light heavyweight title,” Cormier said. “I am not going to be stripped of the belt that I’ve defended with my all for three and a half years. Being stripped of a title suggests you’ve done something wrong, and I haven’t.
“I’d rather walk away this way, with my head held high as it always has been, than have the history books say I was stripped. I’ve defended this title this year. I was approached with the idea of fighting at heavyweight, so I took it. I fought three times in 2018. No champion has been more active than me. I am the fighter of the year. My story and my legacy will not include me being stripped of a title. They can have it.”
Cormier, 39, first captured the UFC’s light heavyweight title with a submission win over Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 over three years ago. Title defenses over Gustafsson and “Rumble” positioned “DC” for a rematch with Jones back UFC 214. While Jones ended up defeating Cormier via third-round knockout, a failed drug test overturned Jones’ win to a no contest and the 205-pound belt was given back to Cormier.
Following that 2017 fiasco, Cormier successfully defended the title again with a second-round TKO win over Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220. Cormier then moved up to heavyweight and ended up knocking out then champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 to become a two-division champion. A quick heavyweight title defense over Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 this past November gets us to where we are today.
With Jones and Gustafsson battling it out in a highly-anticipated rematch, and Cormier likely to meet Brock Lesnar in a heavyweight title fight sometime next year, it only made sense for “DC” to relinquish his title now and give UFC 232 a little extra mustard.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 232 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.