Despite recently extending his win streak to five, No. 3-ranked UFC light heavyweight Ryan “Darth” Bader may be passed over for a title shot yet again, as it’s expected that former divisional kingpin Jon “Bones” Jones will soon return from his suspension in hopes of regaining his title from current boss Daniel “DC” Cormier.
However, Bader did pick up the biggest win of his career at October 3’s UFC 192, picking apart former champion Rashad Evans on route to a unanimous decision victory, and the former Arizona State wrestler believes he needed a name like Evans on his resume:
“I think that earned me some respect,” Bader told Ron Krauk and Bas Rutten on Inside MMA. “You know, I felt great out there. I think I needed a name like Rashad Evans, you know, former champion, to end that five fight win streak with a name like that. Hopefully that deserves enough to get a title shot here.”
Bader has reached top contender bouts in the past, but it seems as if he’s always fell short. However, he has evolved immensely, transforming from a wrestler with a powerful right hand into an effective striker, and he believes that it was his jab that got the job done against Evans:
“In the fight with Rashad we knew the jab was going to work. I have a fast jab. I’ve been showing that the last couple of fights and so this time I went out there and right when I popped two jabs in his face he really didn’t have an answer for it and I see his face was already swelling up and he’s blinking and trying to get that double vision out of his eyes and I just knew he couldn’t get into my range without getting popped with that jab.”
At the end of the day, despite Jones possibly returning, Bader has the idea in his head that he’ll be fighting Cormier soon:
“My mindset right now is I’m fighting Daniel Cormier unless I hear otherwise,” he said, adding he’s not going to get baited into fights that don’t make sense.
Although Jones technically never lost his title, and a rematch between he and Cormier is the fight the fans want to see, does Bader deserve his shot at gold?