Ryan Bader Will Likely Have To Wait Following His Impressive Victory on Saturday Night

Published on October 5th, 2015 9:05 pm EST

Things got a little murkier for the Light Heavyweight title picture over the past few weeks, after Daniel Cormier and Ryan Bader both scored victories, while former champion Jon "Bones" Jones edged closer to making his return to the UFC.

On Saturday night, Daniel Cormier narrowly bested Alexander Gustafsson via a split decision to retain his title. This was Cormier's first successful defense of his title since beating Anthony Johnson to win the interim title earlier this year.

Ryan Bader, who many thought would be fighting Daniel Cormier at UFC 192, easily defeated Rashad Evans in the co-main event to move further up the Light Heavyweight ladder. Under normal circumstances, Bader would have almost certainly earned himself a shot at the title with his win on Saturday night.

The problem? Jon "Bones" Jones, who has been suspended by the UFC since he was involved in a hit-and-run accident in Albuquerque, is likely nearing his return after he copped a guilty plea and accepted a sentence of 18 months worth of probation. With that judge's decision, Jones is now on his way back to the UFC. The promotion will almost certainly lift Jones' suspension soon, so don't be surprised to see Jones, who is one of the UFC's biggest draws, returning to the promotion in early 2016.

The "money" fight in the Light Heavyweight division is not Cormier vs Bader - instead, it is a rematch between Daniel Cormier and Jon "Bones" Jones. The UFC will almost certainly not make Jones win a fight in order to earn a title shot, as he is widely regarded as being one of the greatest fighters of all time.

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This likely means that Jones and Cormier, who legitimately despise each other, will be squaring off in early 2016. The fight is a massive one, as it will see Jones' return to the UFC, as well as the re-ignition of one of the promotion's hottest feuds.

For Ryan Bader, this likely means that he will have to take a fight in the interim as he waits for his title shot. Or, Bader may choose to wait for his shot, though he hasn't been guaranteed anything and waiting for his shot could be fraught with danger. What happens, for instance, if Bader waits and Cormier beats Jones in early 2016? That would likely set up an immediate rubber match between Cormier and Jones, which would mean that Bader could be on the shelf for well over a year if he decides to wait.

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It will be interesting to see how fast Jon Jones can return to the UFC. As far as I know, Jones has remained in good shape and could probably start a training camp almost immediately.


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