When news broke on Friday that Daniel Cormier had suffered an injury and would no longer be facing Jon Jones at UFC 197 many took it as a cruel April fool’s prank. Unfortunately that was not the case as the news was all to real and MMA fans would have to wait to see the rematch between the two bitter rivals. The news not only shook MMA fans up but also the UFC who had to scramble to find a suitable replacement for Jones to face. The scrambling did not take long as less than 24 hours later the UFC has announced that number 6th ranked Ovince St. Preux will face Jones for the interim light heavyweight championship.
UFC president Dana White appeared on ESPN’s Sportscenter to officially confirm the injury to Cormier and explain the process on how OSP was chosen.
“Obviously, the number one choice would be Anthony Johnson, who is the number two ranked guy in the world and a fight that everybody wants to see. But Anthony Johnson just had surgery on his mouth and can’t even put a mouthpiece in for at least three weeks. So, as you go down the line, other guys have fights set up. …Rashad Evans is fighting the week after against Glover Teixeira. So he already has a fight. Plus Rashad Evans is ranked number seven, Ovince Saint Preux is ranked number six. So, number one versus number six makes the most sense.”
St. Preux (19-7) has been with the UFC since 2013 prior to that he competed under the Strikeforce banner for three years. Since joining the organization he has been one of the most active light heavyweights competing a total of nine times since 2013. He is 7-2 overall inside the octagon and started his UFC career winning four straight fights. His loses have come to perennial contenders Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira.
UFC 197 will take place on April 23 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.