It appears the light heavyweight bout that was to define the future of the UFC’s sexiest division may be scrapped – and it’s all because of a woman. According to UFC president Dana White, Ryan Bader may not be able make his proposed February 5th date with skyrocketing superstar Jon Jones and the company could seek other options for Mr. The Future is Now.
“I don’t know if Jones is going to fight Bader,” White said during Friday’s UFC 120 fan Q&A session. “We tried to put that fight together, but Bader has some stuff going on. Jon Jones might be fighting somebody else, I don’t know how that’s going to go.”
The most powerful man in all of mixed martial arts clearly knows what time it is, he just doesn’t want to share what’s showing on his Rolex with the rest of us. Although White didn’t go into detail as to why Bader might be scratched from the blockbuster bout, the Arizonian told MMAWeekly shortly after his UFC 119 win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira that he was getting hitched at the end of October and planned on enjoying a two-week honeymoon immediately following the ceremony.
Most elite MMA fighters prefer to participate in at least a 12-week fight camp. Assuming the earliest Bader returns from his hiatus is on November 14th, it would give him EXACTLY three months until UFC 126 rolls around. It’s clearly not an ideal scenario for someone that’s preparing to face the division’s Next Big Thing.
“Jon Jones is an incredibly talented guy. He’s very young, he’s got some fights ahead of him, plus that’s an incredibly stacked division,” White said of his diamond in the rough. “He’s going to have to go through a couple of guys before he gets a title shot, but at the rate Jon Jones is going he could be fighting for the title next year.”
Although it was previously reported the pivotal 205-pound battle had been finalized, it appears they were only verbal agreements. According to Weekly, bout contracts were never distributed to either athlete.
UFC 126 is expected to go down inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Not only will the show take place Super Bowl weekend, but middleweight king Anderson Silva will defend his strap in the card’s main event. So it’s highly possible Octagon brass will still showcase the studly Jones in the pay-per-view broadcast, with or without Bader.