Ryan Bader took the first loss of his thirteen-fight professional career when he met current number one light heavyweight contender Jon Jones at UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort early last month. Jones dominated Bader before catching him in a guillotine choke and ending the fight in the second round, earning a title shot in the process. Though the loss was most certainly disheartening, Bader vowed recently to ESPN.com that he will return to action in better form.
“It sucks because winning is everything to me,” Bader said. “To go through a tough training camp like I did and then feel like I didn’t fight to my true potential was just horrible. But it’s just my first loss and I’m not going to go backward from it. I’m going to go forward.”
For his return, Bader already has an opponent in mind: former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, whom he watched fight before he ever knew he would be a mixed martial artist.
“I would want to fight Tito Ortiz,” Bader said. “Just because I grew up watching him. I want to have one of those guys on my résumé like a Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell. Purely out of respect, he’s one I’d like to fight before my career is over.”
Ortiz was recently forced out of his scheduled bout with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira for having suffered a cut in training which required 22 stitches. Having gone 0-4-1 in his last five fights, another loss for Ortiz would likely spell the end of his UFC career, and retiring a legend of “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’s” caliber would make for a solid mark on Bader’s record.