Newly crowned light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has his first test lined up. On Wednesday night’s edition of UFC Tonight president Dana White announced that Cormier will make his first title defense against Alexander Gustafsson. No official date or venue was given for the title fight but it is expected to take place later this year.
Cormier defeated Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 for the vacant light heavyweight title. Cormier filled in for former champion Jon Jones after he was stripped of the title for allegedly being involved in a hit and run incident. Cormier was able to defeat Johnson with a third round submission to become champion.
Cormier had stated after the fight that he would look to defend the title as often as possible and even called out Jon Jones but it was the post fight press conference that grabbed everyone’s attention. During the press conference Cormier had choice words for fellow light heavyweight Ryan Bader who he was originally supposed to face before being placed up against Johnson. Bader happened to be in attendance and took offense to Cormier’s statements and stormed the press table to confront him. Bader was eventually escorted out of the room but the incident made headlines. Many assumed that Bader would be next in line but that is no longer the case.
Gustafsson will now get his second chance at UFC gold when he steps inside the octagon with Cormier. After losing a hard-fought battle to Jones back in 2013, the Swedish fighter bounced back with a TKO win over Jimi Manuwa. He was then pitted up against Johnson in a bout that took place in his homeland of Sweden. Gustafsson suffered the most devastating loss of his career when Johnson landed with a series of punches in the first round that lead to a TKO loss for the “Mauler”.
Gustafsson was scheduled to face Glover Teixeira in June but was forced to pull out due to a back injury. All reports have indicated that the injury was not serious or would require surgery and that Gustafsson should be ready for the title fight later this year.