When the news broke that Jon Jones had been removed from UFC 200, Daniel Cormier expressed his displeasure and sadness that he was missing out on not only a fight that was massively important to him from a competitor's standpoint but represented a tremendous loss for him financially as well.
in an attempt to make things right for the promotion's light-heavyweight champion, Dana White almost immediately announced that they would look to find a replacement opponent for the anxious Cormier, As soon as Jones was pulled fighters started tossing their hats in the ring, with Michael Bisping and the always game Donald Cerrone being among the first men to step up.
But those in the know assumed that the favorites to fill the role were either Gegard Mousasi, Alexander Gustafsson or possibly even Glover Teixeira. Out of those three, Mousasi was probably the most interesting as it's a fight we haven't seen recently and Gegard seems to have gotten his groove back after struggling for a bit.
But in a move no one predicted, the choice to step in on two days notice against the reiging 205-pound king is none other than Anderson "The Spider" Silva. The longtime middleweight has had bouts at 205 before, but nothing on the level of what he'll face at UFC 200, and certainly not on only two days notice.
Silva spent many years atop the pound-for-pound rankings, but hasn't been the same since losing his title after a shocking knockout at the hands of Chris Weidman. His last fight was a decision loss to new middleweight champion Michael Bisping which many fans felt Anderson gave away rather than lost, in addition to undergoing surgery to remove his gall bladder so the decision to call on Silva for such a prominent role is a bit surprising.
Despite a string of underwhelming performances, "The Spider" still carries tremendous name value and should be an interesting test for Daniel Cormier. Both men deserve respect for being willing to put their respective legacies on the line with almost zero time to prepare for each other. As far as replacement fights go, the UFC should be commended for putting together a blockbuster match-up on such short notice, especially considering the card is stacked with enough marquee fights that they could have just scratched Cormier altogether and probably got by with very little damage to their bottom line.
Do you think Anderson Silva has a chance to pull this thing off on Saturday? Drop your predictions in the comments.