UFC 200 Preview Featuring Dave Sholler, Johny Hendricks, & More
Tonight is the biggest Mixed Martial Arts card in the history of Combat Sports with UFC 200 Main Card on Pay-Per-View and the Preliminary Fights on Fox Sports 1. Before Wednesday the Main Event was a rematch with the Light Heavyweight Title on the line between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. But on Wednesday the USADA announced Jon Jones would be removed from the event due to potentially testing positive for a Performance Enhancing Drug. On Friday those test results were verified as Jones' B sample came back positive also.
As a result the UFC had to do some shuffling of the Main Fight Card and UFC President Dana White went in search of a new opponent for UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier. In steps arguably one of the greatest fighters in MMA history: Anderson Silva.
UFC VP of PR Dave Sholler spoke with Mike Gill on Friday about how the new matchup for Cormier came to fruition:
"When you have arguable the greatest pound for pound fighters to ever compete in the octagon in Anderson Silva calling you saying ‘I want that fight, I want to fight Daniel Cormier.’ He knew we were looking for someone.....It doesn't fall that far off from the Jon Jones fight, he is still a transcending talent. He has the ability to change the fight with one punch, one kick, or one elbow."
Meanwhile the new Main Event will feature Women's Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate taking on the 4th Ranked Fighter in the 135 pound division Amanda Nunes. Tate, who won the belt by submission win over Holly Holm earlier this year, has the opportunity by defeating Nunes to then defend her title in a rematch with either Ronda Rousey or Holly Holm at Madison Square Garden in November. Tate has a four year running rivarly with Ronda Rousey that started with losing her Strikeforce Title to Rousey in 2012. Tate was the only fighter to make Rousey go into deep waters in a fight before Holm knocked out Rousey in 2015.
Also at UFC 200 in the Co-Main Event features the return of former UFC Heavyweight Champion and WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar. Lesnar, who has not fought in the UFC since 2011, will be facing off with Mark Hunt who is ranked 8th Heavyweight in the world in the UFC Rankings. Officially Lesnar has signed a one fight contract with the UFC and is scheduled for a matchup at WWE Summer Slam in August with Randy Orton.
MMA Insider Dizz (@TalkMMA) joined Josh Henning on Saturday ahead of UFC 200 and spoke about why Mark Hunt is a dangerous opponent for Brock Lesnar:
"He just shatters jaws, Mark Hunt, he broke Stefan Struve's jaw in two places. He is a K1 kickboxing champion, he knows how to find your chin, he's fought guys with longer reaches than Brock...And then Brock Lesnar he's a good wrestler, he's an above average wrestler and he's brutally strong. So it's just a matter of who gets their game off first."
Meanwhile a major rematch getting overlook at UFC 200 features New Jersey's own Frankie Edgar taking on Jose Aldo for the Interim UFC Featherweight Championship. With UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor focused on a rematch with Nate Diaz, the UFC scheduled another rematch to setup the future of the Featherweight division in case McGregor decides against returning to the 145 pound weight class to defend his title. Aldo and Edgar fought previously in 2013 which went the distance and the judges awarded a Unanimous Decision to Aldo. But a lot has changed over the last three years. Jose Aldo, who was the WEC/UFC Featherweight Champion for 6 years, only fought 4 times since his win over Edgar due to injury issues before losing his title to McGregor back in December 2015. Meanwhile Frankie Edgar, who is the former UFC Lightweight Champion, has won 5 fights in a row since the loss to Aldo in 2013.
Speaking of former UFC Champions, also apart of the fight card is Johny Hendricks. Hendricks is the former UFC Welterweight Champion and has a career MMA record of 17-4 with two of his four career losses to UFC Champions George St. Pierre and Robbie Lawler. At UFC 200 Hendricks will fight UFC's 12th overall ranked Welterweight Kelvin Gastelum who earned his way into the UFC by becoming the winner of Ultimate Fighter Season 17 Middleweight Fight Finals in 2013.
Hendricks spoke with Josh Hennig about why his background as a NCAA Championship Wrestler at Oklahoma State University prepared him for his career in MMA:
"I think that the good Lord blessed me with a lot of stuff, meaning that my background of growing up: Wrestling. Wrestling is such a hard sport but it taught me so much about myself....it taught me what I could train through and what I couldn't, how to push myself, how to find coaches that can push you...So that's something that I've learned through Wrestling and that's one of the things I think prepared me the best is to understand your body and how it can actually benefit you."