Newly minted UFC light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier may have just booked his first title defense, and it’s not Jon Jones. At the post-fight news conference for UFC 187, Cormier (16-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) wasn’t satisfied with submitting Anthony Johnson (19-5 MMA, 10-5 UFC) and called out Ryan Bader (19-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC), his would-be opponent at UFC Fight Night 68, who in turn rushed the stage and nearly instigated a fight. The UFC’s PR staff rushed to hold the two back as Bader approached the dais and Cormier stood up, bellowing, “Just gimme my paychecks right now, Bader. Get your ass out of my press conference. Get the f-ck out of here.”
Things quickly got heated after MMAjunkie asked Cormier what his plans were after capturing the title that was denied him five months ago when he was outpointed by now-former champ Jon Jones, who was stripped of the belt following an alleged hit-and-run accident this past month. Cormier stepped in for Jones and submitted Anthony Johnson in UFC 187’s headliner. But he denied he was giving critics ammunition by calling out Jones after his win, suggesting he might have doubts about the legitimacy of his title. “At the end of the day, you guys know that competing drives me,” he said. “I sat here five months ago in front of each and every one of you because that guy beat me. I would love to compete against him. But he’s going to be away for a while, so we’ve got to shift our focus.
“There’s somebody else that needs his ass kicked, too. I think he’s around here.” “I’m right here,” chimed Bader, offstage. “There’s Ryan Bader’s ass,” Cormier continued. “And I’m going to beat the sh-t out of him next time. You keep talking Bader. Keep talking Bader. This guy’s so disrespectful, I’m trying to fight Anthony Johnson, and Ryan Bader is sending me stupid messages on Twitter, because he wants people to think he deserves a title shot.” Bader lobbied for the opportunity Cormier got in the wake of Jones’ removal from UFC 187, and he wasn’t too happy when Cormier subsequently accused him of jumping the line of contenders. Bader criticized Cormier on Twitter and told MMAjunkie he was rooting for him to beat Johnson, “so I can whoop his ass.”
At a pre-fight media day, Cormier escalated the rhetoric, telling reporters, “He’s lucky he’s not over here right now. I’ll kick his ass on Friday before I fight ‘Rumble’ on Saturday.” As Bader began chirping back, Cormier launched into a tirade. The only person with a microphone, though, was the champ. “C’mon, Ryan, you can fight me,” Cormier said. “You’re just going to get your ass kicked like you were in June.” Bader then accused Cormier of ducking him, prompting Cormier to interrupt, “Ryan, I didn’t get out of any fights. Ryan, not once did I say I didn’t want to fight Ryan Bader. I asked them to fight you because I just wanted an easy paycheck. I asked to fight you multiple times. C’mon. “They said, ‘Daniel, what do you want?’ I want the easiest fight in the division, Ryan Bader.”
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