With the world of mixed martial arts still reeling from the announcement that Jon “Bones” Jones was pulled out of UFC 200 for a possible banned substance, UFC President Dana White was in desperate need of stability.

White was granted that wish when UFC veteran and MMA legend Anderson Silva (33-7-1) agreed to face light heavyweight title-holder Daniel Cormier (17-1) , on two days notice, as a replacement for Jones.

Anderson Silva Answers Call To Replace Jon ‘Bones’ Jones At UFC 200

The bout will be fought at 205 pounds (light heavyweight standard), for three rounds and no titles will be at stake.

“I think it’s an interesting, fun fight. Anderson Silva is undefeated at 205,” White told reporters after Thursday’s UFC Fight Night. “And not just undefeated, but devastatingly undefeated. Every time he’s moved up to 205 he’s looked better than he did at 185.”

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Silva has fought three times at 205, knocking out James Irvin (2008), Forrest Griffin (2009) and Stephan Bonnar (2012), all in the first round.


“I just felt really bad for Daniel, you know,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “This is a big fight, financially and every other way. So yea I wanted to keep him a fight and I’ve been working since the fight (with Jones) fell out.”

Silva, 41, had to withdraw from a UFC 198 fight on May 10, just four days before the event due to abdominal pain, prompting surgery to remove the Brazilian’s gall bladder.

White acknowledged that Silva’s health was a concern, ‘Spider’ reassured the UFC’s top dog that he was healthy enough to get back in the cage.

Two other fighters were considered: Gegard Mousasi, who is already scheduled to fight Thiago Sanchez at UFC 200, and Dan Henderson, for whom White says he has “other plans” in the works.

Silva accepted the fight one day before weigh ins and according to the UFC veteran, he had not been training to fight anyone.

“I haven’t trained in a few months,” Silva said through a translator. “But I think I’m in good enough condition to go in there and put on a good fight.”

One of the most decorated fighters in the history of MMA, Silva is a former middleweight champion whom held the title for a record 2,457 which included 16 consecutive wins and 10 title defenses.

His age has shown however in the last few years.


Silva’s last bout came in February, a decision loss to now-Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping.

Coincidentally, in Silva’s previous fight with Nick Diaz at UFC 183 in Jan. 2015, after initially earning a unanimous decision victory over Diaz, the bout was ruled a no contest after he tested positive for two anabolic steroids and Diaz results revealed traces of marijuana.

And now the 6-foot-2, 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will replace another UFC legend due to a possible failed test for performance enhancers.

For Cormier, Silva’s recent stumble doesn’t matter.

“I am honored to share the Octagon with the one of the greatest fighters of all time,” Cormier said in a statement to mmafighting.com.

“This is a very tough fight for me, and I have to fight smart and to do my best in order to win this fight. Thank you Anderson for stepping up, and thanks to Dana White and the UFC for making this happen. Now let’s go do this.”

Silva’s last win came win came over Stephan Bonner via TKO at UFC 153 in Oct. 2012. Since, he is winless in four fights, a streak started when Chris Weidman took Silva’s middleweight title from him with a shocking, second round knockout.

The pair’s rematch a year later has become infamous on the internet. Silva lost the bout after breaking his leg when Weidman checked a leg kick. (If you’re into gruesome injuries, video below)


Despite not having the UFC Light Heavyweight Title on the line, UFC 200 still has plenty of juice. White promoted the Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes female bantamweight title bout to the headliner. Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt will square off in the co-headliner in the heavyweight division.

The shortened, three-round format can be attributed to Silva’s lack of training . But for White, when Anderson Silva says he wants to fight, you let him fight.

“Anderson is giving Daniel the opportunity to fight, to make money and to perform on UFC 200,” White said. “So if Anderson wants three rounds, if Anderson wants two rounds, he’ll get it.”

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