By the time Daniel Cormier steps into the cage to defend his light heavyweight championship against Anthony Johnson next year, it will have been around a year and a half since the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion will have defended his strap in the Octagon.
DC was slated to headline next week’s UFC 206 opposite Johnson but an adductor injury suffered in training put paid to those plans, forcing Cormier to withdraw from his second title bout this year.
Cormier hopes to be healthy again by March of next year after and, as reported by UFC Tonight and MMAFighting.com, will undergo surgery this week aimed at expediting his return. The procedure will keep Cormier out of the training room for at least two solid months as he recovers from going under the knife but the champion hopes that he will be ready to face Johnson two months after being cleared to return to his training base at American Kickboxing Academy.
Anthony Johnson, meanwhile, has said that he will sit tight and wait for Cormier’s return. He was offered a short notice fight for the interim light heavyweight title against Dutchman Gegard Mousasi (who has competed exclusively at middleweight for 10 of his 11 UFC bouts) but opted to turn down the offer, citing a lack of interest in the interim title and the high risk/low reward nature of the bout.
The 205-pound division has stalled somewhat in recent months, given Cormier’s injury history and the suspension issued to former champion Jon Jones, though with Jones expecting a summer return he should be well positioned to challenge whoever comes out on top in the Cormier vs Johnson fight — whenever it ends up taking place.