People are already wondering what would be next for Bader, win or lose. He went from fighting Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz to fighting Jason Brilz and now on to the co-main event of one of the biggest cards of the year. It’s been quite the roller coaster.
Realistically, a win puts him—to borrow a phrase from Dana White himself—“back in the mix.” He could get Lyoto Machida or Shogun Rua, both of whom would be interesting matchups, or the UFC could try and see if he’s improved against wrestlers who can strike and match him against the loser of Jon Jones-Rashad Evans at UFC 145.
A loss to Rampage, though it’d be nothing to be ashamed of, likely puts him back a few steps and into a fight against Thiago Silva, Alexander Gustafsson (win or lose against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira) or Stephan Bonnar.
He’s in a very odd spot, as he’s still too young to be a gatekeeper, but a loss on Saturday will unofficially turn him into just that. Win or lose, one has to wonder where he’ll go from here.