The light heavyweight bout between Jon Jones and Ryan Bader may not be taking place after all.
According to UFC President Dana White at a fan Q&A in London on Friday, the bout is not a done deal and Jones may be facing someone else.
“I don’t know if Jones is going to fight Bader,” White said (quotes transcribed by MMAWeekly.com). “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.”
While the fight had been reported as verbally agreed to, bout agreements have not been issued and the fight is not a lock to take place. Prior to agreeing to the Bader fight for February’s UFC 126, Jones’ agent Malki Kawa stated he wanted to fight on the UFC 125 card on New Year’s Day. Whether he gets another opponent for UFC 126 or gets moved to the New Year’s Day card remains to be seen, but regardless of who he fights, White sees big things in the near future for him.
“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 said. “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.”