Countless fighters have offered their in-cage services in an attempt to fill in for Jon Jones against UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 this weekend, including UFC middleweight titleholder Michael Bisping, middleweight contender Gegard Mousasi and former light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson.
According to TMZ Sports, the UFC brass has narrowed down the potential candidates to replace Jones, who was pulled from the highly anticipated rematch on Wednesday evening after it was confirmed the interim champ potentially violated USADA's anti-doping policy, to three fighters.
Mousasi, who's scheduled to fight Thiago Santos on the UFC Fight Pass early preliminary card of UFC 200 on Saturday, is one of the leading candidates. One issue with bumping Mousasi up to the DC fight, according to the report, is having to either find a new opponent for Santos or pull him from the card altogether.
Hendo is reportedly the front-runner to fight Bisping for the 185-pound belt later this year, so matchmakers would likely have to find a new opponent for Bisping if Henderson fills in for Jones at UFC 200.
Silva just recently had his gall bladder removed, just after his fight against Uriah Hall at UFC 198 in May was scrapped. It should be noted a report came out on Thursday that Silva was set to fight Cormier, but UFC president Dana White denied those reports.
Plus, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) requires all fighters above the age of 35 to have licenses and undergo extensive medical testing. According to TMZ Sports, there may not be enough time for Henderson, 45, and Silva, 41, to receive those two things.
UFC matchmakers will have to get past one of those roadblocks because it appears one of the three aforementioned fighters will fight Cormier at UFC 200 this weekend, likely in the evening's co-main event, as Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt has already been promoted to the headlining position. It is unknown at this time whether any of the above matchups will be for UFC light heavyweight gold or serve as a three-round non-title fight.
UFC 200 takes place live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 9.
BloodyElbow.com will keep you updated as this story develops.