UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is impressed with the progress of Bellator two-weight champion Ryan Bader. But he still thinks he would win in a cross-promotional fight between the two.
While Cormier later vacated his light heavyweight title, he became a two-weight champion when he defeated Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title last summer.
Bader did the same in January when he added the Bellator heavyweight title along with his light heavyweight title after his knockout of Fedor Emelianenko in Bellator’s heavyweight Grand Prix final.
Bader notably didn’t absorb a single significant strike during the entire Grand Prix. And Cormier had nothing but praise for the All-American:
“I think Ryan’s done tremendous for himself. I’ve known Ryan since he was in college,” Cormier said on The MMA Hour. “He’s always been a hard worker and very committed to his family and everything else. I think he’s great.
“It is exciting to watch him gain a level of success that he never truly had gotten to in the UFC and the chances that he did get to get there, he had kind of faltered. With that being said, he just really dominated those guys and it was crazy because ‘King Mo,’ I watched him tech [Bader] in wrestling. Maybe scored like 10 takedowns.
“And [Bader] just truly, truly had to reset his mind to even compete against him knowing that his best skill is axed off. He can’t use it against a guy like Mo, so he went out there and knocked him out. It’s been nice, it’s been good.
“It’s hard watching guys like Fedor get knocked out like that. He dominated (Matt) Mitrione, knocked out Mo. It’s been good to watch him do what he’s done.”
Cormier vs. Bader?
With the two champions previously slated to fight each other in the UFC, Bader’s coach claimed afterward he believed his student could defeat Cormier. However, “DC” still sees himself as being on a completely different level to Bader:
“But he wouldn’t be able to fight me,” Cormier explained. “I like the guy, but it’s just different. It’s just a little bit of a different approach. Look, at the end of the day I’m just nasty ol’ boy. I learned that from Josh Barnett. You get in there, you rub your elbow in their face, you kind of run your hand over their mouth.
“I’m of the old school, like Josh Barnett. Hurt ‘em even when you’re not doing much and people don’t really like that. Even when I’m huggin’ ‘em, you know when it looks like I’m just huggin’ ‘em? I’m not just huggin’ ‘em. I’m really driving my knuckles into their body, even when I’m on top and I’ve got my elbow in the middle of the solar plexus, I’m pointing that elbow as deep in there as I can.
“There’s always pain, and I learned that when Josh Barnett put the pain on me when we fought in Strikeforce. It’s just a different type of mentality that most guys can’t match. You’ve got to be a dog if you’re going to beat Daniel Cormier — and I don’t know if he has that dog in him.”
Would you want to see this cross-promotional super fight nonetheless? If you enjoyed this story, please share it on social media!