Anthony “Rumble” Johnson wants a fight with Ryan Bader after the latter defeated Rashad Evans at UFC 192, but Bader isn’t ready to commit to that fight just yet.
According to a report from UFC Tonight on Fox Sports 1 this week, Bader’s waiting to see what the UFC does with Jon Jones now that the former Champion has reached a plea deal in his hit and run case. If Jones is not booked against Daniel Cormier in the next UFC Light Heavyweight Title fight, Bader believes that fight should be his.
However, if the UFC goes with that expected matchup, Bader is open to a bout with Johnson.
“Rumble” was supposed to fight Jones in May before the hit and run happened, and fought Cormier instead at UFC 187 for the vacated title. Cormier won that fight, submitting Johnson in the third round, but the 31-year-old bounced back in his next outing in September, knocking out Jimi Manuwa in the second round.
Penick’s Analysis: Johnson-Bader makes sense as a co-main event under Cormier-Jones if and when that fight happens. Despite the decisive loss to Cormier, Johnson may still be seen as a viable option for a Jon Jones bout if Jones recaptures the title; if Johnson gets past Bader after Bader had won five straight, that bolsters his case as well. One has to imagine that’s the route the UFC will take, but they’ve still yet to officially reinstate the former champion.