It’s Time for Ryan Bader and Daniel Cormier to Fight for the Title

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It may soon be Bader-time—or at least it should be.

With his recent victory over former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans, Ryan Bader firmly cemented his status as one of the elite in the Light Heavyweight division. Now riding a five-fight win streak, the time seems to have come for Bader to get that elusive title shot against champion Daniel Cormier. Bader is now the number three ranked Light Heavyweight according to UFC.com, and after a public confrontation with Cormier during the UFC 187 post fight press conference, a Bader and Cormier match seems the most plausible.

Cormier and Bader were already once scheduled to face each other. They were originally scheduled booked to face off at UFC Fight Night 68 in New Orleans, but after former champion Jon Jones was involved in a hit-and-run incident and subsequently stripped of the title, the UFC brass cancelled the Bader vs. Cormier match-up in favor of giving Cormier a title shot against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187. Following Cormier’s victory over Johnson, he became the new Light Heavyweight Champion (usurping Jones), but still had unfinished business with Bader.

Bader was present at the UFC 187 post fight press conference, and was publicly called out by Cormier; the confrontation nearly turned physical.

Watch it here. (Warning: offensive language, NSFW)

Clearly the two still had issues with one another given their confrontation, but both moved on and won their next fights. Bader beat Evans, and Cormier defended his Light Heavyweight strap against Alexander Gustafsson in an instant classic that should go down as one of the greatest fights in the division’s history. After defeating Gustafsson, Cormier has now defeated the #1 and #2 top contenders in the division, Johnson and Gustafsson, it only makes sense that Bader, the next top contender, gets a shot.

But Bader’s hopes of a title shot may have to be put on hold for the time being with the recent news that Jones was only sentenced to an 18-month probation and would likely be returning soon to the UFC.

Bader, naturally, doesn’t believe Jones should get the next shot on the belt he never lost. Saying of the situation, “What I think [the UFC] should do, is they should wait … I don’t know, 10 months, and give Ryan Bader this title shot, and [Jon Jones] can come back and fight me once I get that. That’s what I think should happen.”

If the UFC does put Jones on the shelf for the time being, then it only makes sense to finally give Bader a title shot. And unlike many others in the Light Heavyweight top ten, Bader has never fought for the title. Other fighters that occupy the top ten like Johnson, Gustafsson, Glover Texeria, Evans, Mauricio Rua and Rampage Jackson have all received title shots—some have had several—but Bader hasn’t. His impressive string of success, improved striking and alluring feud with Cormier make Bader the best choice for the next title shot.

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