“It’s more palatable that it’s Jon Jones coming back and getting it than the whole [Alexander] Gustafsson situation coming off a knockout loss and all that. For me, it looks like I’ve got to beat all these guys in the top five to get a shot. For me, having a big main event on Fox and fighting Anthony Johnson and he’s ranked No. 1 and that’s where we want to be. Obviously, I wanted to [get the] title shot but that’s not happening. The next best thing is this fight… It goes back to, for me, I’m not really worried about it anymore. Obviously, I want it and that’s my goal to win the title but I’m done thinking about it. I thought about it the last couple of fights and all last year and it hasn’t happened yet so now it’s just about beating the next guy in front of me and that’s Anthony Johnson. I have no idea if I’m getting the next title match. They might do a rematch, they might do Jones vs. Gustafsson 2, so who knows for me. From my perspective, I go out there and beat Anthony Johnson I’ll literally go through the whole top ten and for me that’s validation right there.”
Penick’s Analysis: It seems it was clear to Bader what the lay of the land was when the UFC reinstated Jones. There just wasn’t any chance he was getting the next title fight from there, and the next best thing for him is proving where he is in the division by going through the next top challenger. He’s beaten lots of very good fighters in this field, and if he beats Johnson, it’s hard to deny that he deserves a shot at the title. However, there are still lots of factors in play to determine whether or not that happens, most pressing being what happens in the Jones-Cormier rematch. Now, he’s likely to get the next title fight with a win, as Jones is likely to win the rematch with Cormier, but it may not come against Jones, as it’s entirely possible Jones could move up to heavyweight even after recapturing the belt. We’ll find out in 2016, but first thing’s first for Bader, and he has to beat Johnson to make anything happen.