Following an extremely disheartening decision loss to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in one of the most hyped UFC title fights of all-time at January 3’s UFC 182, No. 3-ranked Daniel Cormier was left at a kind of career crossroads without any clear direction.
He lobbied for a fight with former top contender Alexander Gustafsson in his home state of Louisiana, but UFC President Dana White said that there were other plans in the works for both fighters.
Tonight (Wed., February 11, 2015) we now know the exact details of those plans, as Cormier announced on UFC Tonight that he would be battling surging No. 5-ranked Ryan “Darth” Bader in the main event of June 6’s UFC Fight Night 68 from New Orleans:
“New Orleans, New Orleans, the gumbo pots are ready, the jambalaya’s cooking, and the beignets are frying. Daniel Cormier vs. Ryan Bader, June 6 on FOX Sports 1 from the Smoothie King Center. ‘DC’s’ going back to New Orleans and I’m bringin’ the UFC with me. I start my track back to the light heavyweight championship; I can’t wait!”
Cormier will look to rebound from his first-ever MMA loss, but he’ll have no easy task in Bader, the NCAA All-American wrestler who has won four straight decisions since his UFC Fight Night 28 loss to former title contender Glover Teixeira.
“Darth” was most recently seen defeating Phil Davis with a close (and many would say boring) split decision at January 24’s UFC on FOX 14 from Sweden. His recent wins haven’t been anything special in terms of aesthetic appeal, but he does get the job done against mid-to-upper level opposition.
Cormier will undoubtedly be his toughest test outside of his UFC 126 submission loss to Jones, and he’s going to be beyond angry and motivated to put on a show for his home fans.
With both fighters possessing world-class mat skills, this one could largely be contested in the stand-up game.
Who is your early pick to come out on top?
Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports