10-02-2010, 04:08 PM
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| | Ryan Bader vs. Jon Jones targeted for UFC 127 in February
Ryan Bader vs. Jon Jones targeted for UFC 127 in February | MMAjunkie.com
A matchup between two of the brightest prospects in the UFC's light heavyweight division appears likely for early 2011. |
A long-discussed contest between "The Ultimate Fighter 8" winner Ryan Bader (12-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) and the dynamic 23-year-old Jon Jones (11-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) appears likely for the as-yet-unannounced UFC 127 event.
MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com) learned of the planned date from sources close to the event.
UFC 127 is expected to take place Feb. 5 in Las Vegas and feature a middleweight title fight between current champion Anderson Silva and dangerous striker Vitor Belfort.
Jones' agent, Malki Kawa, recently told MMAWeekly.com he was hoping for a Jan. 1 booking for his client, but that now appears unlikely.
Bader recently earned a high-profile decision win over longtime veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at this past-month's UFC 119 event. The win was Bader's fifth-straight in the octagon and 12-straight victory overall since turning pro.
Meanwhile, Jones fought most recently in August, when he needed just 1 minute and 52 seconds to dispatch of another longtime veteran, Vladimir Matyushenko.
The prospective matchup between Bader and Jones has been rumored for months, and "Bones" talked about the potential contest on Friday's new edition of HDNet's "Inside MMA."
"If that's the fight to have, I'm excited," Jones said.
While Bader's wrestling credentials are well-documented, Jones said he sees the contest as a chance to proves his own grappling prowess.
"I've been trying to prove that since my debut," Jones said. "I'm trying to secure a respect level in my wrestling. I'm sure Ryan Bader, the advantage he'll have going in is to be 'the better wrestler.' I want to try and prove the UFC wrong again.
"It'll be fun."
While the UFC's 205-pound division is one of the promotion's deepest, the winner of the Bader-Jones contest will certainly emerge as a top contender. And should he prove victorious, Jones says he hopes to face someone with a different skillset than Bader and past opponents Matyushenko, Matt Hamill and Jake O'Brien.
"I'm ready to fight some strikers; I'm ready to fight some southpaws," Jones said. "I'm ready to really mix it up, maybe some jiu-jitsu black belts., but if this is what I have, this is what I have."
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