After dropping a crucial unanimous decision to longtime champion Jon Jones in the bad blood-fueled main event of January’s UFC 183, No. 3-ranked UFC light heavyweight Daniel Cormier was forced to go back to the drawing board.
Looking to erase the bad taste of his first-ever loss, the former Olympic wrestler quickly signed on to face surging No. 5 contender Ryan Bader in the main event of June 6’s UFC Fight Night 68 from his home state of Louisiana.
Most are picking “DC” to score an easy comeback win, but “Darth,” who will come into the bout with the momentum of four straight wins, doesn’t echo that sentiment.
The former NCAA All-American wrestler spoke up to Submission Radio to give his take on the fight. After winning each bout of his recent streak by decision, Bader thinks he’ll put a stamp on Cormier and finish him to earn the next title shot:
“I’m gonna go out there – and I’ve had a couple, you know four or whatever decisions last couple of fights, you know? I want to go out there and I want to stop him. I want to make a statement, to go out there and knock him out and earn this title shot.”
According to Bader, he simply isn’t scared of Cormier’s world-class wrestling pedigree, as he’s spent his whole life training in that exact discipline. That confidence has lead him to believe that he can get up if and when Cormier takes him down, and that he can also take “DC” down as well:
“The whole MMA wrestling part of it with my ability if he comes to try to wrestle me, or I can try and take him down also. I feel I can put my hands on him, and I feel like if I can put my hands on anybody in the division I can knock them out.
“I know I’m going to hit Cormier. You know, so I just feel comfortable. I feel if he takes me down I’ll get back up. I feel like I have the ability to take him down, have the ability to land some heavy shots on him, and put him away, really.”
It appears that Bader’s confidence is at an all-time high, something that’s undoubtedly necessary in order to contend at the top level of the talented UFC 205-pound division. But not surprisingly, Cormier isn’t buying it. Catching wind of Bader’s lofty predictions, “DC” tweeted out a definitive response this morning:
Ok so I guess old @ryanbader has lost his damn mind. Ryan u aren’t gonna do anything to me. I’m beating that ass!
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 1, 2015
It’s hard to argue with Cormier at this point, because even though Bader may be on the hottest run of his career, he still has to defeat a man whose only defeat came at the hands of very possibly the finest mixed martial artist to ever set foot in the Octagon in Jones.
The former title challenger admitted that he may have needed to make some lifestyle changes in order to have the gas tank necessary to fight at top speed in the later rounds of main event bouts, and he has another chance to prove he can do just that against Bader.
We’ll just have to wait and see if Bader truly is off his rocker on June 6.
Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports