Ryan Bader and Keith Jardine, two former TUF cast members, will meet at UFC 110 in what could seriously impact the LHW division. Jardine is coming off of two losses against very stiff competition in Thiago Silva and Quentin "Rampage" Jackson, and it appears with this fight that Jardine has officially entered gatekeeper status (which could change with a win here).
Coming off of a UD win over a pretty tough guy in Eric Schafer, Bader is favored in this fight but he is not currently ranked in the USA Today/SB Nation Consensus Rankings. Jardine is ranked 16th in the LHW division and has faced the top of the heap - coming away with a few big name wins in Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, and Brandon Vera.
With a win over Jardine, this vaults Bader to the top 15 - depending on what fashion he wins in. Two names that come to mind are Thiago Silva and Luis Cane. With wins against either Silva or Cane, that puts Bader right in the mix for a number one contenders match. With Bader being a TUF Winner coupled with the fact he is undefeated, you have yourself a very marketable new stud at the LHW division.
While I know I'm getting ahead of myself, I'm picturing a new LHW division come Sunday with Ryan Bader standing right in the middle of it. With powerful hands, great athleticism, and world class wrestling ability he has the tools to give any of the 205ers problems.
Let me know what you think in the comments.