The light-heavyweight contenders have been booked to fight at UFC on FOX 18, which will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark. It’s a bout a lot of folks saw coming on the horizon, since Johnson is ranked #1 at 205 and Bader is #3. It’s also a fight that’s happening due to the fact that former champ Jon Jones has been reinstated, and it expected to fight champion Daniel Cormier next.
Recently Johnson spoke to the media about the upcoming fight, and while doing so, the heavy handed fighter said this (quote via MMA Junkie.com):
“I think it will put me right back in title contention; I never saw myself out of title contention,” Johnson said. “I think it’s going to be a war no matter what. He’s hungry. I think he’s pretty upset because I think he was told that he gets the next title shot if he beats Rashad. Now he has to fight me. I think it was just a timing thing too with Jon being reinstated and Bader just – we all kind of knew if Jon was to get reinstated, he was going to get the title shot right away. It was either Bader sit out another six months or he stays active and keeps getting paid.”
As Johnson noted, Bader wasn’t too keen on this bout initially, since he was hoping to fight for the belt next. “Darth” is riding a five fight winning streak.
If Johnson wins, however, will he challenge for the belt once more? It likely depends on what does down with Cormier-Jones II. The champ submitted Johnson this past May, and if he does defeat Jones, the UFC might look past “Rumble”. If Jones wins, however, then Johnson’s probably a lock. He was scheduled to face Jones earlier this year, until the latter’s well documented list.
Most recently, Johnson took out Jimi Manuwa at UFC 191 in September.