UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier released a statement Saturday afternoon, apologizing to opponent Jon Jones, UFC owners Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White and fans for withdrawing from UFC 197.
Cormier pulled out of his UFC 197 title fight against Jones on Friday night, just three weeks before the grudge match was scheduled to take place, citing a leg injury.
The decision to not fight on April 23rd was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make. I've been scheduled to fight 18 times and I have made that walk every time. I want to apologize to Jon Jones, Lorenzo Fertitta, Dana White and all of the UFC fans for not being able to defend my title. This truly saddens me, but as with everything else in life, it goes on. The recovery should not take very long and I can't wait to compete and defend my title again. For all the fans, thanks for your support, I appreciate each and every one of you. DC
A photo posted by Daniel "DC" Cormier (@dc_mma) on
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The former Olympian also revealed that he'll need four-to-six weeks to recover from an injury to an interosseous membrane in his left leg
Daniel Cormier out due to an injury in the interosseous membrane in his left leg (in his shin from what I previously reported). #UFC197— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) April 2, 2016
Defending champ Cormier told me 4-to-6 weeks recovery for the injury that knocked him out of UFC 197.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) April 2, 2016
Shortly after Cormier released his statement, White announced that the UFC had found a replacement opponent for Jones in sixth-ranked light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux.
Saint Preux, winner of three of his last four fights, will take on former champion Jones at UFC 197 on April 23 for the interim light heavyweight title.