Ryan Bader is one of the light-heavyweight’s most overlooked fighters, but the former TUF winner could finally get a title shot if he can overcome Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson in the main event of UFC On FOX 18 later this month according to Dana White.
“Bader has been on a run; Bader’s wanted a shot at (Cormier),” White said during an appearance on FOX Sports 1’s UFC Tonight this week. “If he can get through the monster, Anthony Johnson, his shot will be well-deserved.”
The 32 year-old Bader is currently ranked No.4 in the division after winning his last five fights in a row. Along the way he’s defeated a steadily increasing line of 205lb talent, beginning with wins over Anthony Perosh and Rafael Cavalcante, then stepping it up a notch with Ovince St. Preux, Phil Davis and most recently Rashad Evans also coming off second best against him.
It’s certainly been the best run of his 13-4 UFC career to date, though the fact that he’s not found a big finish during this winning streak (all five fights went to the judges scorecards) has hindered his hopes of getting a chance to fight for the belt up to this point.
As White says though, if he can defeat Johnson who fought for the title last year and is still ranked No.2 in the division, then it would be hard to deny that Bader has earned a title shot.
It wouldn’t be the first time that White has all but guaranteed a fighter a title shot and then changed his mind though, and given that Bader isn’t the most marketable light-heavyweight around he’ll not only need to win, but also do so in definitive fashion on ‘big’ FOX if he really wants to give himself the best chance of fighting the winner of Daniel Cormier Vs Jon Jones.