Anthony Johnson (pictured) wants another crack at the UFC light heavyweight title, and he knows the quickest way to get there is by beating the division’s top contender not named Jon Jones.
Ryan Bader, that means you.
On this week’s episode of “UFC Tonight,” it was reported Johnson’s team is looking to arrange a tango with Bader, who is five days removed from handling their Blackzilian teammate Rashad Evans at UFC 191.
Bader has rattled off five straight wins and his camp would like to see what the UFC has in store for Jones before committing to anything. If Jones wasn’t able to put his legal troubles behind him, Bader is the most deserving of a title shot.
However, the UFC is scheduled to address Jones’ reinstatement this week and it is expected he’ll get an immediate crack to reclaim his throne from champ Daniel Cormier. If that’s the case, Bader will have to take another fighter to solidify his top contender status.
At the same time, the UFC doesn’t seem to be in a big rush to push Bader into a championship affair given his wrestling-intensive style. All of his victories during this current run have come via decision.
Johnson, meanwhile, bounced back from May’s disappointing loss to Cormier for the vacant light heavyweight title by blasting Jimi Manuwa last month. “Rumble” has won 10 of his past 11 scraps.
Johnson is one of the most dangerous fighters in the 205-pound division, as well as in the weight room if you happen to be stretching on your yoga mat where you shouldn’t be. The biggest knock on his game is his propensity to gas as the fight drags on.
That might play right into Bader’s hands, as the wrestler loves going the distance. If Johnson ends up getting this matchup, he would be best served if the shootout wasn’t the main event so it would be scheduled as a three-round bout instead of a five-rounder.