UFC Announces That Gustafsson vs Cormier is Next For LHW Division

Published on June 5th, 2015 8:41 pm EST

In the aftermath of UFC 187: Johnson vs Cormier, many people assumed that the next title fight would see Daniel Cormier attempt to make his first title defense against Ryan Bader.

After all, Bader has been particularly aggressive in asking for a title shot, and the new champion and Bader almost came to blows in a post-fight press conference. Bader is on a winning streak and the two fighters clearly do not like each other, so it was assumed that a Bader/Cormier title fight would make perfect sense.

Not so fast.

The UFC revealed earlier this week that Daniel Cormier will be making his first title defense against Alexander Gustafsson later in the year. UFC 191 was rumored for the fight, but that was shot down by the champion earlier in the week.

The fight announcement raised some eyebrows given the fact that Gustafsson was destroyed by Anthony "Rumble" Johnson in his last fight. How does a person who was knocked out in the first round, people wondered, earn themselves a title shot?

There are a number of factors that may play a part in this decision, including:

1) The UFC may not feel that Bader is ready for a title fight. Rashad Evans has apparently called out Bader for a fight. If Bader can get past Evans, then the UFC would almost certainly have to give "Darth" Bader a shot at the title.

2) Venue. If the UFC is, for instance, planning to go back to Sweden, what better way to do it than with a Gustafsson/Cormier title fight?

3) The returning Jon Jones. If the UFC has some inside information that Jones will be returning sooner rather than later, they will want to set up a rematch against either Gustafsson (their first fight was excellent) or Cormier (Cormier and Jones hate each other). A Jon Jones vs Ryan Bader fight? That doesn't have the same punch to it.

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In any case, Daniel Cormier will be attempting to make his first successful title defense against Alexander Gustafsson later in the year.


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