In a very strange decision from the UFC brass they decided to appoint Alexander Gustafsson (16-3) as the next title challenger despite the fact that the big Swede is just 1-2 since 2013.
Everyone thought that it was a sure thing Ryan Bader would be the next challenger after DC and himself nearly came to blows at the post-fight press conference a couple of weeks ago.
The UFC confirmed the news on UFC Tonight last night:
BREAKING: Daniel Cormier vs. Alexander Gustafsson will be the next UFC light heavyweight title fight. Date and venue TBD.
— UFC Tonight (@UFCTonight) June 4, 2015
Bader might not be the biggest ‘name’ to challenge for the title but he was the logical one. Ranked number 3, he has been competing regularly and has won his past four fights, most recently a big win over Phil Davis.
Gustafsson was last in action this past January where he lost to Anthony Johnson by an early first round TKO in what was a number one contender fight. The 28-year-old’s last victory came against Jimi Manuwa in London over a year ago and before that he was involved in that ‘Fight of the Year’ fight with Jon Jones.
The UFC could be covering all the angles for a Jon Jones return. No matter who wins between DC and Gustafsson both fighters provide, through their respective history with Jones, marketable fights with the former champ. On the off chance that Bader would beat DC and then Jones returns, Bader vs. Jones II is a hard sell.
(Title Image via UFC.com and Photo by Michael Campanella/Zuffa LLC)