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LAS VEGAS – Jon Jones has run roughshod over the greatest 205-pound mixed martial artists in the world over the last five years. Only one fight was even close and the UFC's light heavyweight champion has made many of his defenses look ridiculously easy.
Anthony Johnson will be the latest to get a crack at solving the riddle when he challenges Jones in the main event of UFC 187 on May 23 at the MGM Grand Garden. Chris Weidman will risk his middleweight title against Vitor Belfort in the co-main event, a bout that has been postponed several times because of injuries.
UFC president Dana White said lightweights Donald Cerrone and Khabib Nurmagomedov will meet on that card, as well.
"I am so [expletive] stoked for that card," White told Yahoo Sports. "What Jon Jones has done is almost hard to believe. Go back to 2009 and look at who he's beaten. It's incredible."
Against Johnson, though, he'll face a suddenly rejuvenated man whose punching power is unparalleled. Johnson is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Alexander Gustaffson. Since returning to the UFC from the World Series of Fighting, Johnson has been a different man. He's gone 3-0 with two knockouts. He also stopped Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the first, needing just 44 seconds to do that on July 26.
A one-time welterweight, Johnson's punching power has carried with him to the higher weight.
"What he's doing with his power is crazy," White said. "He moved up two divisions and is knocking out legit 205-pounders. This isn't like boxing, where if you move up two divisions you're going up six or eight pounds. He's fighting way bigger guys than he used to and his power is incredible."
Jones tested positive for cocaine in December in an out-of-competition test. Because cocaine is only banned in competition, Jones was permitted to fight at UFC 182 on Jan. 3 in Las Vegas, where he routed Daniel Cormier.
Because he passed all of his other tests, Jones isn't considered to have committed a violation. Given he's already licensed in Nevada for 2015, he almost certainly will not have to appear before the commission prior to the fight. Fight licenses in Nevada are for one calendar year.
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