Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint Preux set for UFC 197 with Daniel Cormier out
Jon Jones is going to remain on the UFC 197 card, as he requested.
A bout between the former UFC light heavyweight champion and Ovince Saint Preux is the new main event April 23 in Las Vegas, UFC president Dana White announced on ESPN on Saturday evening. The fight will be for the interim light heavyweight title.
“Jon has never lost his title in the Octagon. He was stripped of his title because of problems outside. It was the right thing to do.. he will fight for the light heavyweight interim title,” White said on SportsCenter.
Jones was supposed to challenge rival Daniel Cormier for the light heavyweight belt, but Cormier pulled out Friday with an injury. Jones, 28, had been the 205-pound champion since 2011, but had the belt stripped due to a felony hit-and-run arrest in April 2015.
On Saturday, Jones posted a video on Instagram expressing his desire to fight — against anyone — at UFC 197.
Jones (21-1) is the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. He has not fought since beating Cormier to successfully defend the belt in January 2015. Jones has been dealing with outside-the-cage legal trouble. He pleaded guilty in the hit-and-run case and was given a conditional discharge last September. The felony will be wiped clean if he completes 18 months of probation and community service time.
The UFC standout had some more issues this week, getting arrested for a probation violation after being ticketed for drag racing. But the Albuquerque judge reinstated Jones\’ probation with new conditions, including anger management courses and needing permission to drive from his probation officer.
Saint Preux (19-7) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Rafael Cavalcante in February. He has won three of his last four fights with a loss to Glover Teixeira mixed in. OSP, 32, owns wins over Mauricio Rua and Patrick Cummins. He is a former University of Tennessee football player.
There is no timetable for Cormier\’s return. The co-main event of UFC 197 will remain a flyweight title fight between champion Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo.