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UFC 187 fight card primer: Anthony Johnson vs Daniel Cormier

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Bloody Elbow presents a preview of UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier in our fight card primer series. Here we look at the main event: Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson for the UFC Light Heavyweight title.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In the main event at UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier, the UFC Light Heavyweight title is up for grabs as Anthony Johnson (19-4 MMA; 10-4 UFC) takes on Daniel Cormier (15-1 MMA; 4-1 UFC). This five round Light Heavyweight title fight caps off the five fight UFC 187 PPV main card. The UFC Rankings have Johnson as the #1 contender at 205 pounds, Cormier at #3. UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier airs live from Las Vegas this Saturday, May 23. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at  8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and 6:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you likely know a little something about the backstory to this fight. Originally scheduled as Jon Jones vs. Anthony Johnson in a much anticipated Light Heavyweight title fight, the fight changed dramatically when Jones ran into legal issues and was subsequently stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely. Now, the title is vacant, and the winner here will be the new champ - the first time anyone other than Jones has held that strap since 2011. I'll leave it to you to decide if the winner here is the rightful champ, or if they are just holding the throne for the real king.

How do these two stack up?

Johnson: 31 years old | 6'2" | 78" reach
Cormier: 36 years old | 5'11" | 72" reach

What have these two done recently?

Johnson: W - Alexander Gustafsson (KO) | W - Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (KO) | W - Phil Davis (UD)
Cormier: L - Jon Jones (UD) | W - Dan Henderson (Sub) | W - Patrick Cummins (TKO)

How did these two get here?

Anthony "Rumble" Johnson comes here after an amazing career resurgence. His first run in the UFC made him something of a punchline thanks to his spectacular inability to make weight. But in 2012 he moved up to Light Heavyweight (from WELTERWEIGHT!) and has looked completely unstoppable. He's ripped through every opponent since, including former top contender Alexander Gustafsson and former UFC Heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski. Now training with the Blackzilians, Johnson has become easily the most feared striker in the division, with both great technique and scary power. He was perceived as a major threat to pound for pound #1 fighter Jones, and with him out of the picture, Johnson could be poised to take up that mantle.

Daniel Cormier comes to this fight off a loss to Jones - the first loss of his professional career. Prior to that Jones fight, he had dominated in first Strikeforce and then the UFC, both in the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight divisions. Cormier is a highly decorated Olympic wrestler, who has made a great transition to MMA. Many thought he would be a real challenge for Jones, but the champion ended up taking a lopsided decision win (though in a good fight). Now at 36 years old, Cormier has been given a golden opportunity - Jones is out of the picture and Cormier has a 2nd title shot. The reality is, if he doesn't get it done here at this stage in his career, there's a good chance he never will. Pressure is on for the Olympian.

Why should you care?

Great fight and a new champ. I am ready.