Weidman, Belfort also part of UFC 187

ByBrett Okamoto ESPN logo
Thursday, February 19, 2015

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will seek his ninth title defense when he meets Anthony Johnson on May 23 in Las Vegas.

The championship fight will headline a UFC 187 pay-per-view event at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Additionally, a long-awaited UFC middleweight title fight between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort will co-headline the Memorial Day Weekend card. UFC officials announced both fights on Wednesday.

Jones (21-1) is coming off a title defense against Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision at UFC 182 on Jan. 3. After the fight, it was revealed Jones, 27, had tested positive for traces of cocaine in a pre-bout drug test taken on Dec. 4.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission allowed the fight to go on, since cocaine is not considered a banned substance outside of competition. Jones briefly admitted himself to a drug treatment facility after the news broke. The UFC fined the 205-pound champion $25,000 for violating its code of conduct policy.

Jones, who recently moved to Albuquerque to be near his training camp at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA full time, is the top-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world, according to ESPN.com.

Johnson (19-4) earned the UFC title shot by upsetting Alexander Gustafsson via first-round knockout on Jan. 24 in Stockholm. A former UFC welterweight, Johnson went up to the light heavyweight division in 2012 after repeatedly missing weight in the 170- and 185-pound weight classes.

Fighting out of Boca Raton, Florida, Johnson is currently on a nine-fight winning streak.

Weidman (12-0) will finally look to put the Belfort fight behind him. The 30-year-old champion has been scheduled to fight the Brazilian three separate times. A title fight booked in May fell apart when Belfort was forced to withdraw after the NSAC banned testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in combat sports. The fight was rescheduled for December and then again in February, but fell through both times due to injuries to Weidman.

The New York native fought only once in 2014, recording a unanimous decision title defense against Lyoto Machida at UFC 175.

Belfort (24-10) has not fought since a knockout win against Dan Henderson in November 2013.

UFC 187 also will include a lightweight contender fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0) and Donald Cerrone (27-6).

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