Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader, currently penciled in for UFC 126, may not happen after all. Dana White broke the news at Q&A in England earlier today. Apparently, Ryan Bader has “some stuff going on,” and may not be available.
“I don’t know if Jones is going to fight Bader,” White said. “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.”
“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 commented. “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.”
MMA Weekly adds that the fight was verbally agreed to at one point, but nothing was ever signed. Bader didn’t want to fight at UFC 125 on New Year’s because he’s getting married later this month, but it was believed scheduling the fight on Feb. 5 would give him enough time to prepare. It’s unknown if that’s still the issue.
If not Ryan Bader, who should Jon Jones fight in February?
Update 2: Jon Jones says the fight is still on as far as he knows.
“The Ryan Bader fight is well underway,” Jones clarified.
On Saturday, Jones calmed the nerves of the gathered crowd by informing them he had consulted with UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, who confirmed that the matchup was still planned for UFC 126.
“I think [Bader] signed his contract,” Jones said. “I’ve been really busy, so I haven’t gotten a chance to sign my contract yet, but I think that fight will be set for Feb. 5.”
Sounds promising, but I think we still need to hear from Ryan Bader’s camp before we can call this a false alarm.