Daniel Cormier’s First UFC Championship Defense Is Against Alexander Gustafsson – Was Ryan Bader Passed Over?

On May 23, the MMA world found out who would become the new UFC light heavyweight champion at UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier, in light of the fact the title was now vacant due to Jon Jones’ legal issues. In the end, Daniel Cormier played no games defeating Anthony Johnson in the third round with a rear-naked choke. Ergo, Cormier is now the UFC light heavyweight champion of the world.

Now, Daniel Cormier will be given the chance to prove he is deserving of his title. It has been recently announced who his opponent will be: Alexander Gustafsson.

The rumors for such a fight started spreading after the Wednesday, June 3 edition of UFC Tonight. According to ESPN, UFC president Dana White stated that Daniel Cormier’s first title defense will most likely be against Alexander Gustafsson.

Eventually, what Dana White said would likely happen was made official, according to International Business Times. White officially announced the card which is expected to be billed as the main event. However, a specific date hasn’t been finalized, though some thought it would take place on Saturday, September 5, at UFC 191. The reason for such is because the UFC Spanish language website stated it as such. The date and location has since been refuted by Cormier himself on his official Twitter account.

There are other future premier venues Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson could have their championship match at. UFC 192 will take place in Houston Texas on October 3, while UFC 192 will take place in Australia on November 15. The last premier venue will be on December 5 for UFC 194 (no location set yet).

Even though the championship fight has been made official, the MMA (more specifically UFC) community is arguing if Alexander Gustafsson deserves a shot at this time. Many feel Ryan Bader is being passed over for title shot, rationalizing that Gustafsson’s loss to Anthony Johnson was a number one contender’s fight prior to UFC 187. Also, fans are hyped for a Cormier vs. Bader championship fight after Bader confronted Daniel Cormier during the post-fight news conference for UFC 187.

Despite what fans see as an injustice, Ryan Bader will most likely be next in line after the Cormier vs. Gustafsson fight. It seems UFC is making Daniel Cormier defend his title by going down the ranking. Anthony Johnson is No. 1, but since Cormier defeated him to win the belt, he was passed over for a rematch. Alexander Gustafsson is No.2. If Cormier successfully defends against Gustafsson, Bader – who is No. 3 – will be next.

[Image via Jan Omega]