The UFC hoped to contest the event at Madison Square Garden in New York City, in what would be the first event in the state of New York since the state’s MMA ban. However, on January 25, it was announced that a preliminary injunction allowing the promotion to hold the event was denied by a federal judge. According to an order issued by New York district court judge Kimba M. Wood, the federal court must first rule on Zuffa’s appeal on New York’s MMA ban and won’t interfere with the enforcement of state law. On February 6, the UFC confirmed the event would take place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event was expected to be headlined by a UFC Light Heavyweight Championship rematch between then champion Daniel Cormier and former champion Jon Jones.The pairing met previously at UFC 182 in January 2015 with Jones defending his title via unanimous decision.Subsequent to that victory, Jones was stripped of the title and suspended indefinitely from the UFC in connection with a hit-and-run incident that he was involved in.Cormier replaced him and went on to defeat Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 to win the vacant title.
On March 29, Jones was arrested in Albuquerque, New Mexico on a charge of violating his probation related to his hit-and-run incident in 2015. The arrest took place five days after Jones was cited on multiple traffic charges, including drag racing, exhibition driving, weaving, failing to properly display his license plate and modifying his exhaust pipe. He agreed to a plea deal and was released on March 31. In a statement, the UFC announced it was “disappointed” with Jones, but the bout would continue as planned.However, on April 1, it was announced that Cormier injured his foot and was out of the planned fight.He was replaced by Ovince Saint Preux in what became an interim title fight.Anthony Johnson was the original planned replacement, but due to a recent oral procedure, he wasn’t able to accept the fight.
A UFC Flyweight Championship bout between current champion Demetrious Johnson and 2008 Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling Henry Cejudo co-headlined the event.
In January 2016, B.J. Penn announced his intentions to return to active competition in the featherweight division after an 18-month “retirement” and was expected to compete at this event.However, Penn’s return was delayed after an investigation into recent criminal allegations made against him was launched.After he was exonerated, the UFC announced that he would face Dennis Siver at UFC 199.
Former WSOF Women’s Strawweight Champion Jessica Aguilar was expected to face Juliana Lima at the event, but pulled out on March 18 due to a knee injury. She was replaced by former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza.