Jon Jones to return for Daniel Cormier rematch April 23 at UFC 197

ByBrett Okamoto ESPN logo
Sunday, February 7, 2016

A UFC light heavyweight championship rematch between Daniel Cormier and former titleholder Jon Jones will headline UFC 197 on April 23 in Las Vegas.

Officials confirmed the date Saturday. In the co-main event, seven-time defending flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will face Henry Cejudo, a U.S. Olympic gold medalist in wrestling.

Jones (21-1) hasn't fought since he successfully defended the 205-pound title via unanimous decision against Cormier in January 2015. The UFC stripped Jones of the title in April and suspended him indefinitely after he was arrested on hit-and-run charges in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jones is the only UFC champion to forfeit a title for disciplinary reasons.

The 28-year-old was reinstated by the UFC in October, after he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. Widely considered the best fighter in the world at the time of his suspension, Jones holds the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses in the light heavyweight division, with eight.

Cormier (17-1) won the championship by submitting Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 in May. He has defended the title once in Jones' absence, by narrowly defeating Alexander Gustafsson by split decision in October.

The UFC attempted to book the highly anticipated rematch at Madison Square Garden in New York, where professional MMA is still illegal, but was unable to obtain a necessary injunction within the state. As a result, the UFC moved the pay-per-view event to the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Johnson (23-2-1) is coming off a unanimous decision win overJohn Dodson at UFC 191 in September. ranks Johnson the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

He'll face a new challenge in Cejudo (10-0), an undefeated Mexican-American who is 4-0 in the UFC. All four of his fights in the Octagon have gone the distance.