Rashad Evans is targeting a September UFC return. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Rashad Evans is on schedule to return from knee surgery this September, and the former UFC light heavyweight champion already has an opponent in mind.
According to a report on Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight, Evans is targeting a matchup with Ryan Bader when he reaches full health. Bader had been angling for a showdown with Daniel Cormier, but with the current 205-pound king booked for a bout against Alexander Gustafsson later this year, the Power MMA Team product’s title hopes have been put on hold.
Bader and Cormier were initially supposed to square off at UFC Fight Night in New Orleans this weekend, but plans changed when Jon Jones was suspended indefinitely and stripped of the light heavyweight title. Cormier instead defeated Anthony Johnson in a bout for the vacant 205-pound strap at UFC 187 on May 23. Then the newly-crowned champion and Bader engaged in a heated exchange at the event’s post-fight press conference.
Evans was expected to return to action against Glover Teixeira at UFC Fight Night in Brazil on Feb. 22, but after Teixeira withdrew from the bout, “Suga” elected to have a second corrective procedure on his knee after injuring it in training last December.
Evans first tore his ACL prior to a proposed clash with Cormier at UFC 170. He last appeared at UFC 167, where he defeated Chael Sonnen via first-round TKO. Bader, meanwhile, has won his last four in the Octagon, including a split verdict over Phil Davis in his most recent outing at UFC on Fox 14.