Daniel Cormier has his sights set on facing Anthony "Rumble" Johnson in his next UFC Light Heavyweight title defense, but UFC President Dana White has another idea.
Despite Johnson knocking out Glover Teixeira in 13 seconds at UFC 202 last Saturday to record his third consecutive TKO finish, White told the UFC Unfiltered podcast that he sees Johnson fighting interim champion Jon Jones first.
"You know what man, I'm in a weird place," White said, according to Jim Edwards of FloCombat. "I saw that fight and it was a great fight but I've still got to talk to (matchmaker) Joe Silva and see what he thinks. I'm thinking that maybe we do Anthony Johnson versus Jon Jones to see who gets to fight Daniel Cormier."
Jones fighting again is dependent on a successful appeal for his doping violation July 6, three days prior to his scheduled main event fight at UFC 200 against Cormier, a former Oklahoma State wrestling All-American. The fight was pulled from the card and Jones is currently suspended. Cormier won via unanimous decision in a non title fight over former UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 200.
Jones' team claims a tainted supplement caused the test failure. They'll try to have the maximum two-year suspension reduced to six months, which would make Jones eligible to fight in early 2017. There are currently no UFC events scheduled for 2017.
After UFC 202, Cormier and Johnson dismissed the idea of Jones being in the title picture. Cormier and Johnson first fought in 2015 for the vacant title, after Jones was stripped due his involvement in a felony hit-and-run incident. Cormier defeated Johnson by third-round rear naked choke submission. Since then Cormier has defended the title once, a split decision victory over Alexander Gustafsson in October 2015 at UFC 192.