Daniel Cormier (15-1) begins his climb back up the light heavyweight ladder, announcing last night on UFC Tonight that he will face Ryan Bader at Fight Night 68.
“DC is going back to New Orleans and I’m bringing the UFC with me,” Cormier said. “I start my trek back to the UFC light heavyweight championship. I can’t wait.”
The former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion suffered the first lost of his professional mixed martial arts career to Jon Jones at UFC 182. The unanimous decision loss to the light heavyweight champion now pins “DC” against TUF 8 winner Ryan Bader (19-4), who managed to edge a split decision win over the skilled Phil Davis (13-3-1). Up until UFC on Fox 14, the hands down man with the potential to take it to Jon Jones was Alexander Gustafsson. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson took that all away with a first round knockout of the former contender.
According to MMA Fighting, UFC President Dana White stated that if both Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson are indeed successful in their next fights, a match-up between the two is likely to be to be a 205 lb. title eliminator. For Gustafsson, former light heavyweight champion #4 Rashad Evans seems like a logical matchup next for the former contender.
However, MMA Fighting has reported that Evans will not return to the octagon any time soon. According to UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani, Evans discovered in December that his body had rejected the cadaver tissue from an operation to repair his knee last year. He was still planning on fighting, but Once Teixeira withdrew, he opted to have a second surgery to correct the ACL.
With Rashad Evans out of the light heavyweight picture, who do you think will be next for Gustafsson? Will Ryan Bader surprise the Strikeforce veteran and steal his title eliminator thunder?