Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) delivered its latest and greatest pay-per-view (PPV) mixed martial arts (MMA) fight card last night (Sat., Oct. 3, 2015) with UFC 192: "Cormier vs. Gustafsson," which took place inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Full results and play-by-play here.
If we know one thing for certain, it's that Rashad Evans is no longer competing in the race for the 205-pound title, having been shoved off the track by way of a resurgent Ryan Bader. "Darth" didn't get the finish he was hoping for, but did enough against the ex-division champ to sweep the judges' scorecards.
Have a look:
Where does that leave him?
In no man's land. With Jon Jones free and clear of his recent legal troubles -- kinda/sorta -- the talk of the light heavyweight town is when "Bones" will have a chance to reclaim the title he was forced to relinquish last April, which was subsequently scooped up by the next best thing, Daniel Cormier.
And "DC" wasn't about to let a
little big thing like Alexander Gustafsson stand in the way of his Jones rematch, a contest he's been asking for to legitimize his current title reign, seeing as how UFC 182 represents the lone loss of his otherwise-storied career.
Still, "The Mauler" made things interesting (just ask the champ).
That was close.
As it stands, the title must be defended in early 2016. So, that means Bader sits on the sidelines or Jones does, and I think most of us would agree that we've already waited long enough for the latter. That puts "Darth" in a tough spot, from a matchmaking perspective, as he's now the winner of five straight.
Then again, I hear Anthony Johnson is sitting at home with nothing to do.
"Rumble" was expected to fight Jones at UFC 187 but ended up with Cormier instead, who sent him to the back of the line with a third-round submission loss. Not that it matters, as we already know (thanks to the big cheese himself) that entertaining fighters are the ones who get title shots, regardless of record (sorry, Stipe).
Even with his superior ranking, Johnson probably wouldn't get another crack at the crown without first going through Bader (or perhaps Glover Teixeira). That said, I would imagine any competent manager is likely convince "Darth" it's a fight with high risk and little reward.
I hear Barbados is nice this time of year.
The 205-pound title picture is still a bit hazy as we wait for the smoke to clear from the UFC 192 fire; however, I reckon things will come into focus once we get an "official" announcement on the return of Jones, who looks to be a big part of the promotion's championship plans for 2016.
Plans that don't appear to include Ryan Bader.
For much more on UFC 192, including results, play-by-play, recaps, videos, reactions and more, head over to our "Cormier vs. Gustafsson" live story stream by clicking here.