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Anderson Silva replaces Jon Jones as Daniel Cormier's UFC 200 opponent

By The Sports Xchange
Anderson Silva and Terry Crews. (<a class="tpstyle" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BGp9M8FiMr0/?taken-by=spiderandersonsilva&hl=en" title="Silva Instagram">Instagram</a>)
Anderson Silva and Terry Crews. (Instagram)

Daniel Cormier has a new opponent for UFC 200, as Anderson Silva will take the place of Jon Jones in a non-title light heavyweight fight.

Jones was pulled off the card Wednesday due to a possible doping violation. UFC president Dana White confirmed to ESPN on Thursday that Silva, a 41-year-old former middleweight champ, would step in.

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"I think it's an interesting, fun fight," White said, via ESPN. "Anderson Silva is undefeated at 205, and not just undefeated, but devastatingly undefeated. Every time he's moved up to 205, he's looked better than he did at 185."

Weigh-ins for the Saturday card in Las Vegas will be held Friday. According to ESPN, Silva will need medical clearance from the Nevada Steve Athletic Commission.

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"I've gone through a lot of phases in my UFC career and no one else has really been able to beat what I have done," Silva said via ESPN.

Silva posted on his Instagram account a long message that concluded, "Vegas here we come."

White also told ESPN that the Miesha Tate-Amanda Nunez women's bantamweight title bout was being elevated to a co-headlining position alongside the Brock Lesnar-Mark Hunt three-round heavyweight battle.

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Silva (33-7) lost his most recent fight in February, a decision against Michael Bisping.

A late scratch from UFC 198 in May due to abdominal pain, Silva subsequently had his gall bladder removed.

Silva sustained a broken left fibula and tibia in December 2013 in UFC 168. He returned to action in January 2015 in UFC 183.

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Earlier Thursday in Las Vegas, Jones apologized to his fans and boss.

Jones became emotional and left the press conference after only five minutes, denying use of any banned substance. When he returned to field additional questions, Jones' face was saturated with tears that fell to soak his white collared shirt, and answers didn't come easily.

"Being labeled as someone who would cheat hurts me more than anything else I've ever been through in my career," Jones said Thursday.

White removed Jones from the event because of a positive drug test from a sample taken June 16. Jones provided records showing five previous samples were clean. His "B" sample of the June 16 test will be analyzed and could clear Jones. If not, he's facing a ban of up to two years.

Jones (22-1) handed Cormier (17-1) his only career loss via unanimous decision in January 2015. However, he was stripped of the title three months later following a hit-and-run incident in his hometown of Albuquerque, N.M.

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Cormier won the vacant title in his absence, and he was scheduled to fight the returning Jones in April. Cormier, though, had to pull out due to a leg injury, and Jones instead defeated Ovince Saint Preux via unanimous decision.

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