Las Vegas – On Memorial Day Weekend, two world title fights headline UFC® 187 as undisputed light heavyweight king Jon “Bones” Jones meets No. 1 contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in the five-round main event. Plus, middleweight champion Chris Weidman puts his belt on the line when he faces former light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort Saturday, May 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The pound-for-pound king, Jon Jones (21-1, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) continues to smash records and make history as he goes for an unprecedented ninth successful UFC light heavyweight title defense. Undefeated in his last 12 bouts, Jones is currently tied for second place with Georges St-Pierre for the longest active winning streak, just behind former middleweight champion Anderson Silva with 17. Jones is on a path to become arguably the greatest fighter of all-time, having defeated both former legends and rising stars, with his most recent victory coming after a five-round war against U.S. Olympian Daniel Cormier at UFC 182. Looking to further etch his name in the record books, Jones gladly welcomes the challenge of facing the hardest-hitting opponent of his career at UFC 187.
Since making his UFC return in 2014, (No. 1) Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (19-4, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla.) has gone 3-0, collecting two first-round finishes over former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson (TKO at 2:15 of round 1 at UFC Fight Night® in Stockholm) and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (KO at 0:44 seconds of round 1 at UFC on FOX in San Jose), while also delivering a masterful performance against seventh-ranked Phil Davis at UFC 172. A nine-fight win streak, coupled with dominant wins over top tier talent, has earned Johnson a chance to challenge the pound-for-pound king for the light heavyweight world title.
In what will be an electric co-main event, middleweight champion Chris Weidman (12-0, fighting out of Baldwin, N.Y.) will put his spotless record on the line when he faces the fourth-ranked Belfort, who has been anxiously awaiting his shot at the belt. After doing the seemingly impossible by beating former champion Anderson Silva twice, Weidman went on to defend his title in spectacular fashion against former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida at UFC 175. The five-round battle earned the pair a Fight of the Year nomination and cemented Weidman’s place in the pound-for-pound rankings (No. 4). With victories over many of the sport’s elite, the New Yorker looks to add another notable name to his resume when he takes on one of his most ferocious opponents to date.
Determined to hold titles in two weight classes, former 205-pound champ (No. 4) Vitor Belfort (24-10, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla. by way of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) has been destroying his competition as of late, and at 37 years old, has never looked better. In his most recent outings, “The Phenom” defeated both Dan Henderson and Luke Rockhold in the first round following his incredible second-round TKO victory over Michael Bisping in January 2013. Weidman and Belfort have been slated to meet on three separate occasions, and the two will finally go to war on May 23.
Other bouts for UFC 187 include:
Undefeated lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov returns from a lengthy layoff (22-0, fighting out of Dagestan, Russia) to face No. 3 Donald Cerrone (27-6, 1NC, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.), a winner of seven straight.
In a battle of heavyweights, third-ranked Travis Browne (17-2-1, fighting out of Glendale, Calif.) collides with (No. 7) Andre Arlovski (23-10, 1 NC, fighting out of Chicago, Ill.).
Ninth-ranked welterweight Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim (19-3-1, 1 NC, fighting out of Busan, South Korea) meets Josh Burkman (28-11, fighting out of Draper, Utah).
Former title challengers Joseph Benavidez (21-4, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) and John Moraga (16-3, fighting out of Phoenix, Ariz.) hit the stage in a flyweight scrap.
Plus, the flyweight division’s No. 1 contender and TUF season 14 winner John Dodson (17-6, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) makes his return against (No. 9) Zach Makovsky (19-5, fighting out of Philadelphia, Penn.).
In their UFC debuts, newcomers Leo Kuntz (17-1-1, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) and Islam Makhachev (11-0, fighting out of Dagestan, Russia) square off in a 155-pound bout.