Anthony “Rumble” Johnson got the fight he wanted from the UFC, as he’ll face Ryan Bader this January in the main event of UFC on Fox 18.
The bout is an important matchup for both as they attempt to move into position to challenge for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, and Johnson thinks he’s going to make quick work of Bader to move up ahead of him in line.
“I plan on running through him,” Johnson said during a Q&A in Brazil prior to UFC Fight Night 77 this weekend (via MMAFighting.com). “I’ll take his soul.”
From there, Johnson could potentially be in line to fight for the title again, and he’s looking forward to the return of Jon Jones, whom he was initially supposed to face for the belt in May. Jones wound up getting suspended and stripped of the belt, and Johnson would go on to lose to Daniel Cormier for the vacant belt; but he thinks a fight with Jones is still coming, and would be an entertaining fight for all.
“I think it’s great that Jon Jones came back,” he said. “That’s more competition for the 205 weight class. It would be fun [to fight him]. Somebody is going to sleep in this fight, trust me.”
Penick’s Analysis: If Johnson tears through Bader (and it’s entirely possible he might), he’ll get serious consideration for a title fight despite the loss to Cormier. Now, if Cormier beats Jones, there’s going to be a rubber match, and Johnson will need to fight again, but if Jones beats Cormier then they could try to put the Johnson fight together next. He’s got to beat Bader, and if he does it as impressively as he believes he will, he’s going to be in fine shape as far as his contender status is concerned.