Despite having a four-fight winning streak, and engaging in a very entertaining confrontation with champion Daniel “DC” Cormier at the UFC 187 post-fight press conference last May, No. 3-ranked light heavyweight Ryan “Darth” Bader was leapfrogged by Alexander Gustafsson for a title shot.
Cormier recently took out Gustafsson in the main event of UFC 192 last weekend in a back and forth five-round war. On that same card, Bader scored the biggest win of his career, securing a unanimous decision victory over former champion Rashad Evans in the co-main event.
That makes it five in a row for “Darth”, and apparently it’s all due to a change in focus. Speaking during his backstage interview (Via FoxSports), Bader claims that he’s now set his sights fully on not only being the champion, but being the best in the world:
“I decided that I want to be a champ. I want to be the best in this sport. I have the right people behind me and all that together is driving me, pushing me to be the best.”
Speaking of those people behind him, Bader specifically noted the addition of his new striking coach, who has seemed to have turned the rising contender from a wrestler with a powerful right hand into a more complete, and effective striker:
“I was usually doing just straight boxing, not using my feet or anything, then we brought in Chaz Turner,” he explained, speaking of his new striking coach.
“You saw more kicks. You saw me be a little more agile on the feet, even from the last fight. I’m going to continue to get better. I feel like I’m just hitting my stride. I’m comfortable in there. Every time I get out there, I’m going to get better and better.”
With former long-time champion Jon “Bones” Jones recently avoiding jail time for his April arrest, many feel as if Jones will be handed an immediate shot upon his return. However, he has yet to be reinstated into the UFC, and Bader could still be in the running.
“DC” has repeatedly called “Darth” the easiest fight in the division, but Bader obviously feels as if he’s being underestimated, also noting that he wants to kick Cormier’s ass:
“Calling me the easiest fight in the division, and whatever, look what that got Rashad,” he said.
“All respect to Rashad. He came out there and fought, he came off of two knee surgeries. He’s the man. But, at the same time, I got through him and now DC is calling me out. That’s who I want…I want to kick DC’s ass.”
Would you like to see Bader finally receive a title shot?