Yesterday was a big day for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
First, as reported here at Caged Insider, a comprehensive new drug testing program, to begin in July, was announced at a UFC press event in Las Vegas. Beginning in July, the entire UFC roster will now be subject to random, out-of-competition testing for performance enhancing drugs. Also, penalties for testing positive will increase, to the tune of two- and four-year suspensions.
But while we look forward to see how the UFC follows through with the new testing protocol, we can start thinking about some great looking fights on the horizon.
First, UFC President Dana White announced at the press event, Rory MacDonald will receive his long awaited title shot at welterweight champion Robbie Lawler.
MacDonald and Lawler fought before back at UFC 167 in 2013. That night, Lawler scored a split decision victory to continue his path to a title shot. Since then, MacDonald has won three straight, while Lawler has earned the UFC Middleweight Championship.
The bout will serve as co-main event of UFC 189 in July, along Jose Aldo’s featherweight title defense against Conor McGregor.
MacDonald was originally to fight Hector Lombard at UFC 186 in April, but that bout was scrapped when Lombard tested positive for PED’s last month.
Also, on UFC Tonight, it was revealed that Anthony “Rumble” Johnson will face UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones at UFC 187 in May.
Both fighters have suffered out-of-the-cage controversies but enjoyed success inside of it.
Johnson has had a career resurgence, winning three straight bouts at his new home at light heavyweight, since returning to the promotion last year.
But he’s undergone scrutiny due to domestic violence allegations, as detailed by MMA Junkie last year. The cases include a 2009 incident which resulted in Johnson entering a no-contest plea. Later charges were dismissed.
Meanwhile, Jones has been the UFC’s most dominant champion, earning a staggering twelve straight wins. A positive test for cocaine in December prior to a bout — which did not result in suspension or an overturned result, since it occurred “out of competition” where cocaine, per WADA guidelines, is not prohibited — has failed to derail his career.
Also planned for UFC 187 is a re-scheduling of the UFC Middleweight Championship bout between titlist Chris Weidman and challenger Vitor Belfort.
Both events will be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.