The collision course between young phenoms Jon Jones
and Ryan Bader
seems to finally be nearing its point of impact.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the blue-chip light-heavyweights will square off in early 2011, with a date still to be assigned to the fight.
The 23-year-old Jones has been one of the most dynamic fighters on the international scene since making his UFC debut in August 2008. At 11-1 overall, Jones is 5-1 in the UFC with his only loss coming via disqualification after landing illegal elbows in a fight he was otherwise dominating against Matt Hamill.
Following that bout, Jones took out respected veterans Brandon Vera and Vladimir Matyushenko in a pair of first-round TKO victories.
Bader, meanwhile, is unbeaten in his MMA career at 12-0. He began his UFC run during season eight of The Ultimate Fighter, winning the season handily.
He's won all five of his UFC fights since joining the organization, most notably knocking out Keith Jardine in February before earning a decision over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 119 just a week ago.
While both camps are agreeable to the fight, the last hurdle remains the date.
The Jones camp had hoped for a Jan. 1 fight at UFC 125. Bader, meanwhile, is getting married at the end of October, and would prefer to have a little time off before getting into a training camp for a bout with major title implications.
Because of the situation involved, it seems most likely that the fight will take place during a Super Bowl weekend show in early February 2011.