LOS ANGELES — UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has been forced out of his upcoming title defense against Jon “Bones” Jones with an injured left leg.
Ovince Saint Preux will step in for Cormier in Jones’ comeback fight at UFC 197 on April 23, the mixed martial arts promotion announced Saturday. Jones and Saint Preux will fight for an interim title belt.
Cormier (17-1) lost a decision to Jones, who trains at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA, in their first bout in January 2015, but he won the vacant UFC 205-pound belt four months later after the UFC suspended Jones for legal troubles stemming from a car accident in Albuquerque.
Jones was reinstated by the UFC last October. He defended the light heavyweight title eight times before his suspension, establishing himself as the top pound-for-pound fighter in MMA.