The light heavyweight division of the UFC looks to be the most exciting at the moment. In terms of delivering exciting fights and a generally enthralling title chase it is this division that is making the UFC Fight Night cards and the pay per views so unmissable. Cormier is a strong champion to say the least but he is swimming in a sea of sharks just as deadly. To make the situation even more interesting, Jon Jones is reinstated after his suspension and subsequent relinquishing of the title due to a hit and run incident that could have seen him serving jail time. Given that Cormier won the vacant title in a fight with Anthony Johnson, Jones no doubt believes the belt it still rightfully his. However, Cormier has taken on all challenges for the title, beating Johnson is no small feat and he most recently defended the championship against a resilient Alexander Gustafsson in a hellacious and bloody bout. Cormier proved himself to be the rightful champion in that fight in my opinion and I doubt that he is likely to give the belt up any time soon even to a returning Jon Jones. Although Cormier believes Jones to be up there with the greatest he does not believe him to be a good representative of the UFC due to his attitude and actions outside the cage, so DC will no doubt be looking to cut that redemption story short.
However one strong contender for the belt that should not be overlooked is of course Ryan “Vader” Bader. Everyone is focussing on this grudge match between Cormier and Jones but nobody is acknowledging Bader’s title charge. The previous Ultimate Fighter contestant has been looking to prove himself of late and has been doing just that. His most recent victory was over Rashad Evans who is of course a legend in the sport of MMA. In the run up to the fight Bader was saying he was looking to prove a point that he is supposed to be in the title picture by beating an all-time great. He put his actions into words showing obvious signs that he has evolved as a fighter incorporating more kicks and general fluidity into his fighting style. He has won all of his last four fights now but still can’t seem to get a shot at the gold.
In an interview with Fox Sports Bader said he has resigned himself to the idea of fighting every man in the top 5 of the light heavyweight division before he can get a shot at the title. This is what he told Fox Sports: “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 a title shot but that’s not happening.” Although it is rather unjust that Ryan hasn’t yet received a shot it looks like Bader vs Johnson at Fox UFC Fight Night on January 30th will decide the number 1 contender for the light heavyweight championship.